I’ve avoided writing a blog for a few weeks because it was going to be all about my fabulous trip to Sri Lanka, so bright and cheery about what a wonderful time I had – partly it is, but sadly the holiday is memorable for more than just happy reasons.
I’ve had time to digest and process what happened in Sri Lanka whilst I was there but have also been given, yet again, more reasons to count my blessings everyday. Sri Lanka has everything, the promise of beaches, surfing, amazing cuisine, culture and gloriously warm people. It appeals far and wide with something for everyone, be it safari, sunbathing, temples, ridiculous sweeping sandy beaches, whale watching or sampling local food and drink specialities – it’s bucket list stuff!
I’ve always wanted to go, in fact the train ride through the plantations in the hill country has been on my radar for as long as I can remember – it’s one of the reasons to visit this magical island. I couldn’t have been happier in my first week in Hiriketiya. I was surfing everyday on uncrowded beaches, watching sunsets with a cold beer and reading books swinging on a hammock beneath the palms – we’re talking idyllic here.
I met wonderful people, surfed on some dreamy right handers (waves) and played with all the wild beach dogs and puppies, I was in my element. This was just the beginning because the next stage was up into the country to Udawalawe National Park which is home to so many amazing animals and landscapes. This is the place to do safari where you can see elephants, leopards, water buffalo and huge crocodiles, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere so you end up camping in tents under the stars too.
After a couple of days here it was onto Ella in the central highlands to do lots of trekking. There’s nothing better than a sunrise hike to start the day off, climbing Ella’s Rock. In order to start the climb we had to walk down the railway track for about an hour, then you start the steep climb. The train comes every hour or so and you don’t want to get caught at one of the narrow parts of the track because you’ll pretty certainly get hit.
Temperatures were soaring and the sun is brutal in Sri Lanka due to its close proximity to the equator, so everyday my routine started with Ultrasun Factor 50 Anti Pigmentation – I took it all down my neck and décolletage once a day and didn’t burn once.
I’ve got to say I virtually took no cosmetics with me on this trip, my choice of haircare was Philip Kingsley and some Liz Earle moisturiser but all in all it was a real dress down, back to basics holiday.
Sadly though, eight days into the trip tragedy struck and I had a barrage of messages hit my phone almost all at once, and the news went global about the terrorist attacks in Colombo. From that moment everything changed. Thankfully I was safe and away from being directly involved but several attacks took place on that Easter Sunday to leave the whole country devastated yet again.
Without going into too much detail my heart just goes out to Sri Lanka and those beautiful people, plus all of those who were affected by the attacks. Poor Sri Lanka has a history of civil war and they experienced wide spread loss and destruction in the tsunami and now this. It is a country that over the years has had to show great resilience and they will once again. That day was supposed to be the afternoon that I would take the train from Ella across to Kandy, but also the day the train did not run due to the risk involved. My plans were changed immediately and I dashed to the coast to escape any further risk and decided to bed down in a quiet town.
Then came nationwide curfews at seven-pm and social media blocks, I was unable to contact friends and family for a couple of days. It was sombre and palpable, the atmosphere totally changed across the island as the nation wept. The last few days went by very quietly and by the time I took off on the plane I actually cried with relief and sadness, because it could easily have been me or somebody I knew involved in what took place that Easter Sunday.
I guess there’s so much more to say but this really isn’t the forum. Thank you for all the kind well-wishing messages whilst I was away, they really were appreciated and made me feel connected to the world as I know it because I felt a million miles away. I’ve been very quiet since my return and have been doing much contemplating because you know what, lots of us have much to be very grateful for because we’re always one decision away from a very different life.
Since then I’ve kept my sun tan ticking over with James Read, and there’s a cracking Sleep Mask Discovery Collection Today’s Special Value coming up tomorrow on the 10th May, which combines a facial self-tan with a gentle retinol and a body tanning product too.
I’ll try and blog more regularly, until then, tune in, I’d love your company xx