Top 10 beach gadgets for 2014

From e-readers to waterproof cases for phones and tablets, this summer all your tech can be beach-ready. Take a look at our pick of this year’s top beach-friendly gadgets.

Top beach gadgets: ECOXPRO Waterproof Case

Top beach gadgets: ECOXPRO Waterproof Case

1. Waterfi Waterproofed Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation)

The clever folk at Waterfi have enhanced the latest Kindle Paperwhite to make it waterproof, sandproof, even suntan lotion proof so now you can enjoy your summer books anywhere and everywhere.

2. Mophie Powerstation

Using your smartphone or tablet on the beach as e-reader, games console, MP3-player and more can be a drain on its battery but pop one of these portable power stations in your beach-bag and you can charge your device twice over.

3. ECOXPRO Waterproof Case

Available on Amazon this cool waterproof case is designed to make any smartphone (including iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android handsets) waterproof. Plug in a standard audio jack and it doubles up as an on-the-go waterproof speaker.

4. Misfit Shine

Want to track your fitness levels as you swim out to sea or do laps in the hotel pool? Then strap on this sleek activity tracker. The device will gather all the data from your swim and then sync to an easy to use app on your smartphone. It can also be used for out of the water activities.

5. Sony Action Cam

Capture all the adventure of a beach holiday in stunning Sony quality with this neat point-of-view camera. Waterproof casing means you can capture waterskiing, sailing or big game fishing moments without worrying about damaging the camera. An ultra-wide lens and low-light sensor allows you to capture stunning images other cameras would miss.

Liquid Image Model 305 Hydra Series HD 720P

Liquid Image Model 305 Hydra Series HD 720P

6. LifeProof Cases

These cool sleek cases in a range of colours (or customise your own) make your beloved digital devices waterproof, dirt-proof, shock-proof and snow proof so you can literally take them anywhere on earth. Available for iPhones, iPads, iPods and Galaxy S3,4,5.

7. Samsung Galaxy S5

The all-singing-all-dancing new Galaxy S5 from Samsung is water, sand and dust resistant. Add to this its 16mp camera and energy saver setting and you have the perfect all-purpose beach smartphone.

8. Liquid Image Model 305 Hydra Series HD 720P

Allow friends and family back home to share in your scuba diving or snorkelling experiences as if they were with you with this high-tech dive mask with HD camcorder built in. The mask’s camera can take stills or video with audio at depths up to 40m.

9. Finis Neptune Underwater MP3 Player

Using revolutionary bone conduction audio transmission this MP3 player allows you to listen to music underwater without ear buds. Instead it transmits audio through your cheekbone directly into your inner ear.

10. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet 32GB Wifi

This latest tablet from Sony is waterproof and dust proof, with its lightweight design (it’s only 0.25 inches thick and weighs 439.42g) it’s perfect for the beach and won’t weigh down your hand luggage.

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3 summer wines to try from New Zealand

Head sommelier at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Jerome Carlier, suggests three of his favourite New Zealand wines to be enjoyed in the summer sunshine.

Enjoy New Zealand's summer wines at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Enjoy New Zealand’s summer wines at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Escarpment Pinot Gris 2012, Escarpment Winery, New Zealand

Grown on the alluvial gravel soils of the Martinborough Terrace during a cool growing season for the district, a longer summer allowed fruit to ripen wonderfully.

The result was opulent fruit flavours combining beautifully with barrel fermentation to create a Burgundian-inspired Pinot Gris.

The flavours are reminiscent of ripe pears and white stone fruit with delightful soft texture ensuring a long commanding finish.

Its dry style has enhanced the fruit flavours Pinot Gris is renowned for. Partial malolactic fermentation and lees stirring has improved the texture allowing it to match most entrée dishes.

A great alternative to Chardonnay it has been inspired by the classical French approach to the variety. It is an accurate reflection of Martinborough’s unique terroir. Cellar for up to five years or more, successfully.

Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2012, Felton Road, New Zealand

Violets and roses, with a potpourri of spice box elements. A very textural rich palate of vibrant fruit without a hint of heaviness or excess. Intense concentration is coupled with a purity that enables every subtlety to sing through.

This being a combination of the three estate vineyards, the subtleties are manifold, each contributing to the complexity rather than being lost in the blend. The structure is confidently firm but not aggressive.

La Barachois at Constance Le Prince Maurice

La Barachois at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Summer Rosé 2011, Ata Rangi, New Zealand

This very pretty, beautifully balanced dry-style 2013 Summer Rosé is made largely from Merlot, with just a tickle of Pinot Noir and Syrah.

The fruit is crushed and left in the tank overnight before draining the juice from the skins and cool-fermenting in the tank.

A creamy strawberry/raspberry character and succulent watermelon notes run across the bright, crisp palate. In the background, faint hints of cranberry and a touch of aniseed add complexity and interest.

This versatile wine is a perfect drop for long summer afternoons on the veranda, or enjoying year-round with any lighter style, summery food.

Experience fine wine at Le Prince Maurice

Take a tour of our extensive wine cellar with capacity for 15,000 bottles followed by a wine tasting under the guidance of one of our highly trained sommeliers.

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10 top travel apps 2014

Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Constance Lémuria, Seychelles

Today’s sophisticated travel apps make light work of planning a holiday.

Here’s our selection of ten of the best travel apps that will help you plan your next trip.

1. Packing Pro

Get organised before you leave with this essential packing app. The app allows you to make and keep a variety of lists (ski holiday, beach holiday, city break) and offers a range of template lists which can be customised to suit your personal needs. A must for family holidays.

2. Triposo

A travel guide app based on reviews and comments from 6 million travellers covering 200 countries and more than 25,000 destinations. Handily this app also works offline.

3. TravelSafe

Hopefully you’ll never need to use it but this app connects you to emergency services in countries around the world. Whatever country you’re in the app will connect you to your local services as well as providing local embassy information.

4. WeatherPro

Covering more than 2 million locations worldwide this popular weather app is a perfect choice for travellers wanting to check the weather forecast at their destination.

5. XE Currency

With access to live exchange rates this free app is perfect for calculating currencies on-the-go. Well laid out and simple to use this is better than many paid-for currency converter apps.

6. TripAdvisor

Still the go-to review site for the world’s travellers, TripAdvisor’s app gives reviews, guides and all important traveller ratings while you’re on-the-go.

Constance Moofushi, Maldives

Constance Moofushi, Maldives

7. FlightTrack

The FlightTrack app compiles all your flight information, including delays and cancellation, in one place making this a handy app for those taking more than one flight. Giving details such as which departure gate to head for and terminal maps this is all you’ll need for stress-free flying.

8. Foursquare

A quick way to get to grips with what’s going on in a new destination, the Foursquare app gives travellers the opportunity to add their comments to a global network of reviews including, hotels, sites and restaurants.

9. TripIt

This is an all-in-one travel organiser. Forward your confirmation emails to the TripIt app and it will collate all your travel information so you can access it quickly and easily. Share itineraries with friends, access itineraries from different devices and get maps and weather for your destination, this app really does everything except feed the cat while you’re away.

10. Postagram

For those that miss the days of sending and receiving postcards this is a cool app which allows you to create a postcard on your device using one of your own pictures and then will have the card printed and mailed direct to the recipient’s door.

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Best holiday reads 2014

Whether you’re loading up your Kindle or squeezing paperbacks into your suitcase, taking a great book with you can be the finishing touch to packing for a perfect holiday.

Best holiday reads 2014

Best holiday reads 2014

Take a look at who’s recommending what this year to help inspire your choice.

The Guardian – Best holiday reads 2014

The Guardian has brought together a selection of writers from Jeanette Winterson and Colm Tóibín to Ruth Rendell and Ian Rankin to tell readers what they’ll be reading this summer. Highlights include:

  • Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine, the memoir of Albertine’s punk musician days
  • A God in Every Stone ¬by Kamila Shamshie, a compelling story of history and the people who live in it.

The Observer – Best holiday reads 2014

The Observer has lined up a stellar cast of authors, historians, screenwriters and journalists to give their guide to what to read this summer. Highlights include:

  • Prince’s Boy by Paul Bailey, set in the 1920s a Romanian looks back at his time in Paris as a young man from the writer of Gabriel’s Lament.
  • A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor a novel about a young Indian woman’s struggle for freedom and desire.

The Independent – Summer reads 2014: 10 best memoirs

The Independent shines its light on the many compelling autobiographies out this summer and runs down its Top 10. Highlights include:

  • Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, a fascinating insight into the workings of the mind of the woman and statesman that is Hillary Clinton.
  • Carsick by John Waters, a lively, highly entertaining read, this book follows Waters’ journey hitchhiking across America in 2012.
The perfect location to embrace your next novel?

The perfect location to embrace your next novel?

Esquire – The high-brow beach-read round-up

In an attempt to avoid the summer blockbusters and political potboilers of most summer reading lists, Esquire takes a look at what’s available for those looking for something more substantial. Highlights include:

  • The True American by Anand Giridharadas, New York Times columnist Giridharadas, traces the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan a survivor of a revenge shooting for 9/11 by delusional Mark Stroman. Bhuiyan not only forgives Stroman and rebuilds his life, he also tries to save Stroman from the death penalty.
  • In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen, a novel about how we should write and think about the holocaust set at a Zen retreat in a former concentration camp.

Vogue – Summer’s buzziest beach reads

Vogue bases its summer reading list on the ‘if you liked that, you’ll love this’ approach. Highlights include:

  • I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum, a comic story of a fading Brit Pop artist trying to win back his wife.
  • The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon, a thriller set in a future in which society is rendered unable to speak by digital technology.

Red – The best summer reads

Pulling together the best of the new releases and classics from the past the Red team give their recommendations for this summer. Highlights include:

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, set on the French Riviera in the 1920s this is typical Fitzgerald jazz age glamour and heartbreak.

Half A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this Orange Prize winner is a compelling tale of the Biafran War as seen through the eyes of its characters.

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Best travel-sized beauty products 2014

Space is always an issue when you’re packing for a luxury beach getaway so here’s our guide to the best travel-sized beauty products out there right now, as recommended by some of the top bloggers in the industry.

Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

Constance Ephélia, Seychelles

The smaller they are the more you can put in…

Stella McCartney – Stella Rollerball eau de parfum

As fashion blogger Vivianna Does Makeup points out there’s something very ‘90s about roll-on perfume but this small pen-sized dispenser is the perfect way to take perfume on holiday without taking up too much space.

NARS Creamy Concealer

Another beauty travel essential for Vivianna Does Makeup is the NARS Creamy Concealer which earns its place in your travel make-up bag thanks to its ability to multitask as concealer/eye cream/foundation.

Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner

A must for your in-flight bag this light, aromatic hydration mist spray will revitalise skin dried out by a long-haul flight. Its instant moisture hit made it top of Popsugar’s best travel-sized skin care list.

Essie Holiday Kit – mini nail varnishes

Mini nail varnishes can give you the option of taking a range of colours to suit day and night. Make-up blogger Makeup Savvy recommends US brand Essie that does a special Holiday Kit of mini varnishes.

Dr Hauschka Daily Face Care Kit

With exposure to sun, sea and lots of late nights sipping cocktails and gazing at the stars, skincare on holiday is crucial. Dr. Hauschka’s travel-sized daily face care kit is a neat solution when travelling light. It comes with travel-sized bottles of cleansing cream, milk, toner and three different day creams all made using organic, natural ingredients.

Laura Mercier Metallic Crème Eye Colour

The problem with powdered eyeshadow can be that they get damaged in transit. This small tube of lightweight, non-greasy colour which can be applied by fingertip gives a shimmering sheen to eyes without the mess. Beauty blogger My Newest Addiction says its perfect alone or as a base layer to other shadows.

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What’s on in Mauritius 2014

The beautiful island of Mauritius is a year-round holiday destination with a climate which entices sun-worshipers and water sport-enthusiasts throughout the year.

Kite surfing in Mauritius

Kite surfing in Mauritius

As the intense heat and humidity of Mauritius’ Southern Hemisphere summer begins to subside we round up the highlights of the best events on the island in the cooler, balmy days of July, August and September.

July 2014

Whether you want to get involved or just go along as a spectator you’ll be wowed by one of the most beautiful marathon routes in the world. Taking a coastal trail through villages, and even a UNESCO site, the whole event ends with fun and celebrations on the beach.

Kiteival is an annual kite surf festival open to all level of kiters. With festival venues around the island the festival organisers hope to introduce kiters from around the world to the best spots and lagoons on the island. Take part, or just enjoy the spectacle.

August 2014

Take time while in Mauritius to discover the work of pARTage, an association of Mauritian artists working together to promote contemporary art in the Indian Ocean by showcasing local artists.

Champ de Mars Racecourse, Mauritius

Champ de Mars Racecourse, Mauritius

Inspire the kids or just go along to witness some breathtaking tennis from the next generation of tennis stars at this International Tennis Federation event.

  • Ganesh Chaturthi – 29 August – 8 September

The Hindu festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is a vibrant spectacle on the island. Commemorating the birth of the god Ganesh, the festival is celebrated for 10 days. On the last day, Anant Chaturdashi, Hindus carry an idol of Ganesh in a procession through the streets to local rivers and beaches to immerse him in water before sunset.

September 2014

Champ de Mars is the historic racecourse in Port Louis belonging to The Mauritius Turf Club (the oldest horse-racing club in the Southern Hemisphere). Always worth a visit to rub shoulders with local Mauritians and VIP visitors alike, the Maiden’s Cup is a popular event in the racecourse calendar.

  • Father Laval Day – 9 September

A celebration of the birth of Jacques Désiré Laval, a French missionary and doctor who came to Mauritius in 1841 and became the protector of the slave community, many of whom believed he had miraculous healing powers. On this day thousands of Mauritians visit his tomb in Sainte Croix, Port Louis which is still believed to possess healing powers.

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