My Life On The Beach: ANGELINA VILLA-CLARKE
Angelina Villa-Clarke has been a travel writer for over 15 years. She earned her stripes at British Airways' High Life magazine but has been a freelance journalist for the past four years, writing for Metro, The Mayfair Magazine, Tatler's Travel Guide and Family Traveller, to name a few. She's kept busy by her two boys, aged 13 and 8, who are seasoned travellers, holidaying with her and Angelina's husband since they were born. We get the scoop on her bucket list, perfect getaways and holiday reads.
First up, what’s your favourite beach?
It has to be Deadman's Beach on Peter Island in The British Virgin Islands. I visited about 20 years ago and it remains my all-time favourite destination. This part of the Caribbean is still blissfully unspoilt. Peter Island is a private island so this beach is usually deserted. It's your classic desert island fantasy: horseshoe shaped, calm, turquoise waters and talcum-powder white sands.
What makes the perfect getaway for your family?
Now the boys are getting older, we like to make sure that there's some form of sporting activity, as well as a destination that has some interesting places to visit. That's not to say that we don't like a little bit of luxury where we stay and, of course, good local cuisine is essential. We like to get a real flavour for a place, in all senses of the word. Last year we went to Cyprus and started off our holiday at The Azia Resort and Spa. It's small and cosy and is family-run so has great service and a laid-back atmosphere. We've been a few times and they always remember us. Rooms are stylish and there's lots to do for the kids. After a few days chilling out, we hired a car and headed off to the north of the island - away from the tourists. We stayed in a villa which had its own pool and spent days discovering blissful beaches and unspoilt bays, and meandering through local villages, stopping off at tavernas. It was the best of both worlds.
Where is the most kid-friendly destination you’ve visited?
It would either be Italy - which is where my father comes from and where we have lots of family. Or the Caribbean. My husband's parents are from Barbados and we all love it there. The calm waters, the funky vibe and of course the weather means a good holiday is guaranteed. Both cultures love children and you always feel welcome - whether you are staying in a swish hotel or eating out in a glitzy restaurant.
Which 3 words best describe your holiday style?
Shades-on, hair-down, chilled-out.
Any tips for keeping kids happy on the plane?
Bring healthy snacks to keep them going, some word-search books or similar, and an iPad pre-loaded with some vaguely educational games and kid-friendly films to watch.
What small things would you be lost without on holiday?
Lip balm, particularly By Terry Baume de Rose, shades and contact lenses.
What’s on your holiday reading list?
I pack lots of book as I have to have a page-turner on the go and I read fast. I studied European Literature at university, so while the books have to be entertaining for holiday down-time, they also need to be thought-provoking. This year I've loved Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist and We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.
For my next trip, I'll take An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey and Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser.
What are your beach bag must-haves?
Sun-screen (I love Sisley's), a funky hat, a book and a mini baby talcum powder - rub it on your feet and hands and it takes off the sand.
Bucket list destinations – go!
So many places, so little time! I want to do a yoga retreat in Song Saa - a blissful hotel on an island off the coast of Cambodia. I'd like to learn tango in Buenos Aires and then travel on on Uruguay to stay at Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio. I want to immerse myself in the high-tech city that is Tokyo and then go to stay in a traditional ryokan in a hot spring resort. That's just for starters!
Which holiday sticks in your mind as truly special?
Before we had children, my husband and I saw some of Australia. We started off in Sydney - which is an incredible, buzzy city - and then went up the gold coast and stayed at Daintree Eco Lodge in the rainforest, around 40 minutes from Port Douglas. We then toured the Whitsunday Islands - spectacular.
Finally, when you get home, what are the signs you’ve been on a successful trip?
Lots of sand at the bottom of the bags, a couple of sea shells, a piece of local art, a sun tan and a spring in my step.