Singer Pixie Lott recalls happy times in the Algarve and escaping death in France.
9:48AM BST 30 Jul 2012
Which was your best holiday?
Every year since I was very small, my family – Mum, Dad, sister Charlie-Ann and brother Stephen – and I have been holidaying in Carvoeiro in the Algarve, so that has very fond memories for me. My uncle has a villa there, so for several years we stayed there. Now we tend to rent villas because the family has grown bigger with associated boyfriends and girlfriends. We love a beach called Caneiros and often go to a fish restaurant called Rei das Praias , which does great food – they show you the fish before they cook it.
I grew up singing in a karaoke bar in Carvoeiro called the Round Up Saloon, and even now, when we go back, I will recognise the same faces and people. I’ve just come back from a 10-day break there and it would be nice to own a property in the area one day.
And the best hotel you’ve stayed in?
The Coworth Park, in Ascot. I played in two charity polo events in May and stayed there. It was fabulous, with beautiful, lovely grounds and I went for a bike ride during some downtime. I also had a fabulous massage and pedicure in the spa. I really couldn’t speak more highly about it: the food was wonderful and the service was exceptional.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
Time to relax, have fun, not do very much and just enjoy being with my friends and family.
What do you always take with you?
My iPod – completely essential. I would be lost without my music. I love to play it loudly by the pool. I also take a little notebook to get lyric ideas for the studio. If I am staying in a villa, I will always pack PG Tips, Alpen breakfast-sized boxes, and salad cream – I am rather fond of the latter.
What’s your best piece of travel advice?
Always wear sun cream, and take mosquito spray with you. Having a mum to organise you is quite useful, too – I’m really disorganised.
Everything is done at the last minute, so I tend to throw everything I can think of into a suitcase, frequently far more than I need, and just run for the airport. Having a text arriving, with: “Have you got your passport, contact lenses?” at the right time is very useful.
Where do you want to go next?
I would really love to go to Thailand as so many people have told me how wonderful it is.
I love to ski, so I’d like to go to Verbier, in Switzerland, because we haven’t been there yet. I’m also keen to go the Maldives, and to Hawaii.
... and disasters?
Which was your worst holiday?
I was about 14, when my family and our friends, the O’Grady family, booked a skiing holiday in Puy St Vincent, France. The resort was very high up in the mountains and when we arrived it was absolutely freezing. All the roads were iced up. Every time we got in the car we had to put our snow tyres on, which was a big palaver, and travelling around the area was a nightmare.
The whole holiday was uncomfortably tense – my parents, who were driving, were very concerned about our safety as the roads were so treacherous.
And your worst experience on holiday?
It was on the aforementioned ski holiday. Early on during our stay, when my dad was driving, the car literally teetered over the edge of the cliff – the road was just cut into the mountain so there were no safety barriers at all.
I clearly remember opening the passenger door in order to jump out – I was on the inside of the road – in an instinctive reaction. My dad said it was divine intervention that somehow the car slid back on the road and we avoided falling off the cliff. I remember screaming and our friends, who were in the back, being totally shocked.
What’s the biggest packing mistake you’ve made?
When I was 15, I went to New York for work and forgot my contact lenses. I’m really quite blind, I can’t see anything without them, or my glasses. Luckily some friends were joining me out there, so my dad could arrange for someone to take some over.
Which is the worst hotel you’ve stayed in?
My family and I were having a break in Cyprus and had booked accommodation in Paphos for a couple of nights. This was when I was about six years old. The villa my mum had booked was just terrible; the bed sheets were stained, the mosquito nets had holes in them. There were lots of insects crawling in the drawers, everywhere smelt bad, and the furniture was poor. It was so bad we even made a family video of it.
What do you avoid on holiday?
I avoid getting up early, as I have to do that for work. I love to sleep and have a nice lie in. Sometimes I switch my phone off, sometimes not – I like to stay in touch with my friends but I also like to enjoy the fact I am on holiday.
What do you hate about holidays?
Very little because I live for holidays. Perhaps missing people at home as I love my London life. I would also miss performing and being in the studio if I went away for too long.