“Get out of your comfort zone every once in a while… that is when the magic happens” – Diana Lewis

We’re at The Cliff Beach Club in Barbados, and Barbadian/Canadian Photographer Diana Hamel-Smith is directing me.  She’s at a cute 27 weeks with enough visible bump for me to show concern. But my worry wrinkles are getting in the way of our carefree shoot. “Seeing what my body can physically do while pregnant… it’s mindblowing” she reassures.

Contrary to popular belief, in front of the camera, I’m a quick snap and keep it moving kind of gal. But behind the camera, I’m the perfectionist. My experience collaborating with Diana, a fellow creative entrepreneur, who loves working with small businesses and meeting new people was so refreshing. It was nice to let someone else take the lead for a change, and her pleasant but assertive direction was a testament to her quality of work.

It’s always amazing to connect with someone living in the Caribbean thriving in a similar field, so we chatted for a bit in between takes. “I’m from a large, close, loud family. It taught me to have a voice and stay true to my values and opinions” she confided.

Which left me to ponder a bit on one of my values, which is to focus on the enrichment that can be gained from a new experience as opposed to the practical and mundane reasons not to. Let’s take dining out for instance. For me, dining out is a culinary adventure. It’s the fusion of raw ingredients I would have never considered prepping on my chopping board at home. It’s the ambience, aroma and aesthetics that rock my world. It’s the appreciation of a Chef who has trained hard to ignite my taste buds. And if a bill at the end of the meal is the penalty, then in my view it’s a small price to pay for the memories. So yes, I say all of this to warn, if it’s within your means and you give no other justifiable reason. I will snub you if you say ‘I can cook this at home’. Because it’s about the experience!

While we sip on our cocktails, we thank The Cliff Owner, Brian Ward and Guadeloupean bred Chef Jérémy Dupire for the birth of this French “brasserie” style experience in Barbados. No other coupling could have come up with a concept that merges the most exquisite cuisine from France, the Mediterranean and the West Indies, resulting in appetisers like an avocado salad with citrus segments and passion fruit dressing. And with mains like spicy lobster risotto with parmesan, tomato and scotch bonnet pepper, the menu is an explosion of colours and flavours, with a hint of each continent in every dish.

In comparison to The Cliff, a multiple award-winning restaurant, The Cliff Beach Club is laid-back luxury, with no compromise on the million-dollar view. Perhaps one of the reasons why one stay at Sandy Lane resulted in relocation for Chef Dupire, whose desire for new experiences took him from Guadaloupe to Gabon and France to Barbados.

So leave the cooks at home and do The Cliff Beach Club for the attentive staff, snap-worthy views, decor and dishes and that irresistible photo opp with the signature blue van.

Photography by @dianadigitalstudio | Facebook

Outfits from Salt & City Boutique

Read my full 2018 Barbados Travel Guide here

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