First of all, that’s not me as a youngster there in the picture. I’m not getting nostalgic as I get a year older and to be honest, I was never that cute anyway! It’s also not Riley, if you’re wondering about the sometimes-apt title of today’s blog entry. No, that super cute little lady in the picture was one of the select few guests at Miss W’s exclusive private birthday celebrations (you may remember last year’s event – phew, now that was hard to beat!), which took place on a boat – a catamaran no less. Dearest readers, I’d like to introduce you to The Life Of Riley – the glamorous floating location that was the official host of the Miss W Ibiza Birthday Boating Bonanza.
Now here’s the thing. Another thing you may not know about me. I’m actually scared of boats. Swimming terrifies me. I don’t think the sea and King Titan (and especially the many creatures within it) are my friends – I don’t even eat seafood! I don’t enjoy the feeling of the wind in my hair and salt spray on my face. My heart is filled with dread whenever I hear the word Formentera because as much as I love it, I know there’s only one way to get there. The closest I like to get to being under the sea is watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid and singing along…
So why, pray tell, did I arrange to have my birthday party on a boat? Well, I’d never been on a catamaran before, and like Holly Golightly aka Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I like to do things I’ve never done before. After all, how can you possibly know you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it? So there you have it. The Life Of Riley was booked, a new bikini was purchased, the guests were invited and a gourmet picnic was packed. But did I enjoy it? Well… just a little I guess and the 10 reasons why below will prove it!
1. It was a picture perfect day. Just a smooth breeze, which according to our skipper, meant smooth, fast sailing to Formentera in about 40 minutes, departing from Salinas. Fine by me, since I planned to disembark the minute we arrived and spend the entire day on the safety of the sand. Fast forward to our arrival, and who do you think was the one who wanted to stay sunbathing onboard? Yes indeed, little old (well, older by one year at least!) me.
2. The Life Of Riley boasts a BYO iPod dock. Perfect, since I packed my little pink iPod (of course) chock-full of chilled out, laidback mixes by my favourite Ibiza DJ that are IDEAL for sailing across the Mediterranean! Having your own tunes onboard a boat makes for the perfect experience. There’s nothing worse than wanting to listen to the likes of Nightmares on Wax but being forced to endure Cheryl Cole. My wish was granted – it was like I was a DJ for a day!
3. Having a little guest on board meant I didn’t really feel justified behaving like a baby myself and probably helped to distract me from my fear of the water. The Life Of Riley is a great playground for kids, what with the trampoline decks to bounce around on (only the little ones though, we were forewarned), basket style front in which to sleep (talk about rock-a-bye baby) and not to mention a captivated audience of 10 adults watching your every move. My littlest guest – let’s call her Little Miss White for the occasion – was definitely the star of this show, even though it was MY birthday!
4. More on that super cool trampoline style deck area. There’s something about the way the surface absorbs your body weight and shape naturally that means you sort of become at one with the rolling waves of the sea, rather than be jostled about by them like you do on a sailboat or jerked up and down by waves like you do on a speedboat. It’s a very organic, natural experience and I have to say, I think this is my favourite style of boat now I’ve had the chance to experience it. I didn’t even spill a drop of my champagne. Not once. And let’s be honest – that’s the really scary thing on a boat now, isn’t it?
5. A full day on The Life Of Riley is surprisingly a super affordable day out. Because the catamaran sails, rather than using fuel, you’re not stung with huge petrol fees at the end of the trip and because we packed our own picnic (of course this is optional) meant there was no worrying about the mega bill in one of Formentera’s fancy restaurants for lunch. While I do believe there’s a time and a place for all that jazz, sometimes when you’re inviting guests to celebrate YOU and YOUR BIRTHDAY you want to make sure they’re all comfortable with the cost (and that maybe they have some spare change at the end to buy you a present).
6. When the original beach we thought we wanted to go to on Formentera looked far too busy for our liking, it was absolutely no problem at all for our skipper to accommodate us and sail back to the completely deserted sands of Es Palmador, where we were the only people on the beach and the water was the clearest, cleanest, nicest, loveliest, calmest water I have ever seen in my whole entire life. In fact, I didn’t even want to get out of the water. By the way, Es Palmador is also the only place in the world I have ever seen dozens of teensy tiny lizards go nuts for cherry tomatoes, so if you do happen to pack a picnic, either leave the cherry toms at home or remember to bring extra for the local wildlife.
7. The Life Of Riley has a major advantage over other boats of its size, in my opinion anyway! Because of the nature of its design, it can whiz in and out of small coves, taking you right to the very shallowest waters where you can actually jump straight out and walk to shore. Forget needing the dinghy (which is the part I hate the most! It just feels so unpredictable and kind of grotty, even when you’re getting onto a superyacht)! I felt super safe the entire time… and I think it also saved a lot of time, rather than ferrying people back and forth from the boat to dry land.
8. As with many boats in Ibiza, The Life Of Riley comes complete with its own set of stories, myths and legends… the more you chat with its skippers and owners, the more gossip you’ll get. Of course, I was sworn to secrecy (don’t you just hate that?) and had to promise not to print a word, but let’s just say you’ll know most of the A-list celebs in question and you’ll laugh almost hard enough to fall overboard. Though of course, I made sure there was a mast to hold onto while in full chuckle.
9. Wow – that naturally windswept look really is a winner isn’t it? And to think of all the money I’ve wasted on professional blow-dries, when I could have just had an amazing day at sea to give my hair those impossible to achieve, textured waves. I know who I’ll be booking next time I have an event to go to that night… the golden glow you get from having the sun on your face all day isn’t a bad benefit either!
10. Sailing back into Ibiza as the sun is setting over the island has to be one of the most spectacular views on the planet. Seeing Dalt Vila on the horizon takes my breath away each and every time I do it – and I can assure you after this successful day at sea, next time someone suggests a trip to Formentera I won’t be cringing – as long as they book The Life Of Riley!