Sunday, 3 August 2014

My Favourite Destination: Becki from Bags of Style

I have two main loves in life, shopping and travel. Having grown up in a travel loving family who can't keep still, I've been jetting about since I was months old and have currently been to 54 countries, so you can see where I get that passion from. Shopping on the other hand, no idea, I just love fashion and in particular, bags! I review bags I buy and already own on my blog,, with a mixture of high street and brand names, so check it out! Having already been to 54 different countries with lots more of the world’s amazing sites still to see, there are two absolute favourites of mine that stand out.

The first is St Maarten, part of the Netherland Antilles in the Caribbean. I visited the small, 36 square mile island back in 2005, have been back 3 times taking various different friends and family with me, and I’m jetting back there again next May!

I’m sure that if you’ve heard of St Maarten before, you’ve heard about Princess Juliana Airport and the low landings…? Standing on a white beach with crystal clear water lapping over your feet, and the sun blaring down on you, while a jumbo jet lands just feet over your head, is one of the best things you’ll ever experience in your life. The Sunset Beach Bar, located on the beach right by the airport, is perfect for just hanging out and taking advantage of the beers and cocktail menu, while live music comes and goes and crab racing randomly pops up on the beach! In fact, last time I went I spent a whole day just watching the world go by and the planes come in. It’s just so perfect it’s hard to leave!

Every time I’ve been I’ve stayed in a time share, the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, and have always visited around September time, which is hurricane season so absolutely brilliant if you like to be the only person beside the pool! I think self-catering or bed & breakfast is a must as there are so many restaurants along the bay you’re spoilt for choice. Everywhere is packed with charm and character, from Jimbo’s gourmet Mexican, with an amazing pool and bar in the middle of the restaurant (below left) and margaritas to die for, to Pineapple Pete’s, who serve some of the most amazing food on the island (below right) and have the best live music every night.

Another thing that makes this island so easy to go back to, from a slightly greedy point of view, is that there are quite a few other islands very close by. From St Maarten I’ve been to St Kitts & Nevis, St Barts, Antigua and of course Anguilla, my favourite day trip. But one of the most notable things about the island is how friendly everyone is. Al at the pool bar keeps the frozen Daiquiris coming, Ziggy Chang in Pineapple Pete’s makes sure you’re fed like a King and Soc from Island 92, the island’s radio station, lets you in his studio to request a few songs on air! I think I was won over by the island’s way of life from day one I know the place so well it’s really like a home from home now. If you love sunshine, music and cocktails you’ll come home with the same infatuation as me!
The second of my favourite places to be in the world is Rome, a slightly different angle, but the city has left just as much of an impression on my map as St Maarten.
I first went there in 2010, which started as a surprise birthday present for my other half and quickly got quashed by that pesky ash cloud from Iceland, but we managed to rebook. Having never been there before but being a fan of Italy, I took a shot and it paid off. We loved it so much that I had to show my parents and sister how incredible the city is in 2012, and its no surprise that they fell in love too.

Both times I’ve stayed in a hotel a couple of hundred yards away from the Colosseum which is a brilliant location if you’re looking to see the sights on foot as there are places of interest in all directions. One of the main attractions to Rome is how many fascinating things and beautiful scenes are just waiting for you to stumble across them, some not even on maps as though they’re trivial compared to the main tourist spots.

Obviously all the usual sights are a must. The Vatican and Sistine Chapel are unquestionably worth a visit, but I’d strongly recommend going with a tour or you’ll most certainly get lost! The Trevi Fountain is impressive, where the buildings are closer than you’d imagine as though Rome had run out of room when it was built, but incredible all the same. The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (the big white building by the Colosseum!) allows you to take a lift to the rooftop where you can take in the almost untouched, picturesque, 360° views of the city.

But one of the most vibrant places, aside from Piazza San Silvestro where we watched Italy beat England in the Euros (which got us some free pity drinks!), is certainly Piazza Navona. Artists and their masterpieces surround the fountains in the centre and it’s the most wonderful place to avoid the traffic, absorb the sunshine and unwind, sipping on a glass of Italian wine in one of the many beautiful restaurants it has to offer.

Considering Rome is the capital of Italy, you’d never guess. It’s a fairly low city with no sky scrapers or tall blocks in the centre, and there are ruins and traditional Italian buildings around every corner. I love how modest Rome seems, and every time I stroll down a narrow street which opens up to reveal the Colosseum at its end, I feel like it’s the first time I’ve seen it, and it’s always as striking. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of this dazzling city, and I’m so excited to be going back again in September!

I think wherever you travel you take lasting memories away with you, but these two destinations have made a lifelong impression on me. Enjoy traveling and making memories, and I’ve certainly got plenty of recommendations if you need a nudge in the right direction!


  1. Wow, Gemma, I didn't know you had been to so many countries. I love to travel too, but I'm waiting for my kids to grow up. Love those photos. Have a great Sunday!

    Jasmine x
    For a Real Woman
    So easy Spanish!

  2. I visited St.Maarten for a day when I went on a cruise a few years ago and this post is making me really want to visit again for longer. I feel like there's loads I didn't do there! Rome is one of the places I've always wanted to day!

    Seren x
    Terrible Thrills

  3. Rome looks so beautiful, I really want to go!
    Xo Kirsty

  4. I've always wanted to travel to Rome! It looks so beautiful.

    Style Storms


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