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Spending time as a family is really important to me. This summer we decided to spend a couple of weeks together in the Dominican Republic and it didn’t disappoint. The brilliant Trade to Travel really came up trumps with a gorgeous villa in the stylish Punta Cana resort just a few minutes’ walk from the warm, shallow turquoise sea.

I must confess before the holiday I didn’t know a huge amount about the Dominican Republic, other than it was sandwiched somewhere between Cuba and Puerto Rico.  It didn’t take long to realise it is in fact a place of great historical significance – it was here that Christopher Columbus first landed in 1492 and the island is also home to the oldest cathedral in the Americas. Not to mention dozens of picture perfect and unspoilt beaches, mountain ranges, deserts, IMG_2789mangrove swamps and chilled resorts. No wonder they call it the most diverse of Caribbean nations.

The Dominican Republic can also lay claim to a staggering 26 golf courses. The family took advantage of a couple of them but I preferred to relax with a book. I can particularly recommend this year’s global blockbuster, Girl on a Train. Emily Blunt will make a great Rachel if the rumours are true.

The whole fortnight was pure bliss – catching the sunrise before an early morning swim, horse riding on the beach and lots of cooking. The local crustaceans were super fresh, giving me the chance to master a few new recipes, a satisfyingly retro lobster thermidor among them. The mahi mahi, simply-seasoned and pan-roasted, was pretty tasty as well.

All too soon we had to leave. But I know for sure we’ll be back.

Written by Jori White