Last Thursday was a week to the day since we returned from our fab Mexican holiday and I spent it at the Q with Jill Franks, enjoying the three hour finale of Diamonique Day! What a great show, and SO many fabulous pieces of jewellery. I hope you managed to find something special to treat yourself to? No surprise that our TSV sold out as quickly as it did, but I’m reliably informed there will some new bracelet designs in the not too distant.
Talking of new designs, I think I may have mentioned that I – along with three of my colleagues – have been asked to come up with an idea for a piece of jewellery that will be part of our 25th Diamonique Anniversary this summer. I saw the prototype for my design last week, and although it needs a few tweaks, it’s coming along nicely! 🙂
Thanks so much for your lovely comments on the last blog. It always cheers me to know that you enjoy reading it and looking at the photos. I was trying to remember how many years it’s been since I started writing it – must be at least 10. And of course I’ve been lucky enough to experience a fair few holidays in that time too! This last trip though was one of our best, and as promised, here are more photos and a bit of background to some of the other places we visited.
We had originally planned to take a day out to visit Chichen Itza – considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World – but we knew it to be almost four hours in a coach each way. The flight to Mexico took 10 hours, but at least I could get up and walk around on the plane. With my back and bladder being a little temperamental I didn’t fancy my chances on a minibus! We decided instead to another historical site, far closer to where we were staying, in the ancient town of Tulum – part of the Mayan Kingdom called Mayapan. Our guide for the day was a lovely Mexican gent who was a mine of information!
After a 30 minute bus ride, we arrived in the colourful and noisy town of Tulum and headed off by foot towards the ruins. He told us that the site was built in the 6th century on a 12 metre high limestone cliff. It was quite a large site, surrounded on three sides by a fortification wall with the fourth side facing the beautiful Caribbean Sea. The name Tulum actually means ‘wall’. Although it’s not as big as Chichen Itza, this incredible place boasts a Castillo that is in fact a temple and still has visible wall paintings and incredible stonework.
The Temple of the Winds was another fabulous building we were able to look around, and was built in honour of the wind god to help to guide the sailors through the treacherous reef which runs along the coastline – a bit like our modern day lighthouse. The portals in the centre of the temple allow the sun to shine directly through, and are positioned perfectly to light up the entire site.
The Mayan people were way ahead of their time and are famed for their astronomical observations and predictions. They created a language that is still understood today, and they carefully recorded all that they discovered. They celebrated two birthdays. One every nine months, and the second after 365 days! They calculated a year through the movement of the moon and its cycles, and had an incredible understanding of what it was to be healthy. They even knew how to stitch wounds using human hair, and to fill teeth with iron pyrite! Colin and I were fascinated, and I hope that these photos will give you an idea of the very special morning we spent there.
We had a little bit of time to look around Tulum, and managed a sneaky and very delicious Pina Colada before getting back on the bus to visit a cenote – basically translated means sinkhole! Luckily it wasn’t one of those catastrophic sinkholes that seem to be cropping up in cities around the world, but instead a naturally occurring hole formed after subterranean water causes extensive corrosion of the limestone. There’s apparently a whole network of waterways underground that keep the water flowing so that the cenotes are often linked to each other. Not only were they a water source for the Mayan people, but they were also considered sacred. Some are vast and quite cavernous, but the one we visited was about the size of a swimming pool. We were allowed to bathe in the water once we’d showered off all our suncream, and although it was very cold, it was really refreshing!
Our second excursion was to visit the hidden island of Holbox – pronounced Holbosh – separated from the mainland by the Yalahau Lagoon. As soon as I saw the photographs of the beaches, I didn’t need asking twice if I wanted to go! Having been driven by minibus to the port of Chiquila, we were taken by boat to the very tip of the island called Mosquito Bay! Mercifully I had sprayed myself liberally with mossie spray earlier, so felt quite protected. Holbox actually means Black Hole. I know that sounds a little ominous but it’s so called because of a black seaweed that is found in the water and from above looks as though there are huge holes along the coast. As you can see from this photo it’s quite deceptive.
The island is part of the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and is home to pelicans, flamingos and Osprey and about 2,000 full time residents. There aren’t any cars on the island, so people either use mopeds, bicycles or golf buggies to get around. From Mosquito Bay we took the boat back to the town centre and had lunch in a beachfront hotel.
The sun shone, the crystal clear water twinkled, and the sensually soft white sand felt like velvet under my feet. Quite frankly, it was the closest thing to heaven on earth I’d ever seen, and I loved every moment we were there. Some stretches of seawater lap over sandbars, and the tide goes out a really long way, but it’s no deeper than waist height. The town itself was filled with brightly coloured bars, restaurants and little shops, and we had a lovely long walk through the streets before getting the much larger and faster ferry back to Chiquila. I think this was probably my favourite day of the entire holiday, and we have promised ourselves to return next year at much the same time, to celebrate my 60th birthday!
Of course that might mean a cake! And truthfully, since I bought my KitchenAid Stand Mixer I’ve done SO much more baking. You’ll know from this blog that I’ve made birthday cakes, buttercream icing, meringue, pastry, biscuits, bread and even custard and cream for a trifle, often with the help of my gorgeous granddaughter Honey! 🙂 What cheers me most is that everything turns out perfectly and in next to no time! So I was delighted to see that we have the KitchenAid Mini stand mixer as our TSV today, so called as it is 25% smaller and lighter than mine and the other tilt head stand mixers.
In a choice of four different colours – Almond Cream, Empire Red, Matte Black and Matte Grey – it comes with the stainless steel bowl, the wire whip, flat beater and a dough hook. It still has the 10 speeds, but with this offer you’re saving more than £100 on the RRP at £289.96! Better yet, you can pay under £73 as your first of four Easy Pay instalments, and have it home for 30 days to try it out! My mum taught me how to bake – rock buns, Victoria sandwich cake and scones being my favourites – and we did it all by hand with a wooden spoon in a bowl! I learned a fair bit more at school, but as the curriculum no longer appears to include domestic science/housecraft/cookery classes, I think the KitchenAid is one of those wonderful kitchen appliances that could encourage us all to go back to basics, and I have always felt that nothing beats homemade food. To be able to share that skill and love with someone else makes it even more special.
I’d also like to share some beauty products I’ve been trialing. Firstly, Gatineau have introduced their Golden Glow Gradual Tanning Milk which is incredibly efficient and has absolutely NO scent to it at all! Up until now, Decleor’s Gradual Glow has been my go to, but this is definitely growing on me! Try it for yourself, it’s addictive! And I think you’re way ahead of me when it comes to Elemis’s new Ultra-Smart Pro-Collagen range. Only available on Waitlist, I’ve had great results from their eye treatment duo. The morning eye balm I found to be remarkable! Apply with the special roller ball applicator, and watch the fine lines and wrinkles around the eye visibly dissipate! So cooling and comforting, as is the evening eye cream which is also included. I’d get onto Waitlist and fingers crossed it will be back in stock soon.
That’s all from me for now, but I really hope you’ll have the chance to enjoy what is meant to be a warm and sunny Easter weekend! I’ll be with you on Saturday and Sunday with the likes of Ultrasun, Bose, Peter Kaiser Footwear and Shark. I even have a two-hour British food event. Happy days 🙂
Take care, and do keep in touch,
With my love,