The One With The Travelling 60th Tee – part 1

Well, this started with my cousin’s 60th birthday. Which happened to be in March 2021. The UK was still in the throes of Coronavirus restrictions, so his party was held over Zoom. I thought it would be amusing to get him a special T shirt to wear, and I duly found and ordered one off t’internet.

Except it didn’t arrive in time for the actual do ūüė¶ So what to do? Keep it give it to someone else? Give it to D anyway as a souvenir? As I ran the options passed him we came up with a more brilliant idea – I would pass it to him, he would pass it on to someone else having their 60th in the near future, who in turn would pass it on… get the picture. Bit like those bottle bags which continually get passed from giver to recipient, or the theory about there only being one box of After Eights. All being well it might arrive back with me for my 60th in October. When hopefully we won’t be in lockdown or quarantine any more and I can have a proper party. Yay!

The rules – such as they are- take a photo wearing the T, send it to me, and I’ll do a blog entry on who’s wearing it, where, and what shenanigans it got up to. And who’s next. We did consider awarding bonus points for Most Interesting Stain, but that just sounds like asking for trouble with a capital T. hashtag60Tee

I got some takeaway coffees and we did a doorstep handover. Good luck, lil Tee shirt, travel safe!

While you’re here, if you’d like to make a donation to my marathon fundraising please click the link below. And let’s get everyone smiling.

Red Dress Run 2021

I’ve done a bit of fundraising before for the NI Chest Heart and Stroke association. My father had a mild stroke a few years ago, and my husband has a replacement heart valve. So I know very well the excellent work they do. When the coronavirus pandemic took hold in 2020, many charities suffered immensely at the sudden loss of fundraising events. I did a “26 costumes” run during April, where I ran a short local route in 26 different outfits over the space of a week. This was in response to the absence of marathons, 26 miles, as fundraising opportunities.

26 costumes, Dancer-ys, with Tobbo, the fire-breathing dragon

NICHS would usually have an annual Red Dress run, with participants encouraged to dress up in suitable colours. This year (2021), with Covid regulations and restrictions still in place, it would take place virtually. When I first posted on Facebook

“Me? Running? In a red dress?With my reputation?” even my husband admitted he laughed.

So, most important consideration – what to wear! I usually run with Minnie, my cocker spaniel, but as she will be 10 this year she is an old lady in dog years, so I am training up young Toby, 2, to be a running companion. I really wanted a dress up theme that could include them also. And after a bit of pencil chewing, and exploring what I had in my dressing up box, I decided on…..Little Red Riding Hood (or should that be Little Red Running Hood). Minnie being a black hairy monster would make a suitable Big Bad Wolf, while cheeky-chops Toby would bring his own stylings to the role of Woodcutter. Just don’t anyone think of giving him an axe….

Despite my extensive costume wardrobe, I didn’t have the wherewithal for my own outfit, but I soon found a reasonably priced one on Amazon. When choosing a costume for running it has to be light, loose enough to allow movement, stretchy enough to allow for a long sleeved base layer if required, and washable. A red cloak will be a versatile addition, I’m already planning to use it as a superhero get-up, or for parkrun celebrations. The dress, with its checked skirt, lace petticoat, white blouse and black waistcoat isn’t a million miles from a Highland Dance dress, I might wear it to class as a joke.

For the dogs, I had a Harley Davidson bandana that said “Bad to the bone”, and a checked tartan number.

I sussed out a local route that was a 2.5km circuit from the house, meaning i could swap dogs at the halfway mark, and also was sticking to the guidelines of not travelling too far to run.

To add to the authenticity, the day before the run I baked some cookies for grandma, though I wasn’t intending to run with them. they were stem ginger cookies, and filled the house with tantalising smells.

Ginger cookies, fresh from the oven

On the day of the run, the sun shone, there was a warm-up video on Facebook including personal testimonies and a reminder of why we were running. I found the fundraising really hard this time, with no social events or family get-togethers, and only a handful of work colleagues in the office, it was a struggle to get pledges. But I made the £50 target.

I selected the soundtrack of Hamilton as my music: Hamil-run if you like. I set off with Minnie first, she always gets very excited and impatient when she knows we are going running. And then Toby, who still gets a bit distracted by other people, dogs, interesting smells and pretty flowers. It brings joy to the heart to see dancing snowdrops, full of hope for the future.

Snowdrops dancing in the sunshine

And we are all hopeful of a better future. For charities, for those recovering from strokes or heart operations, for runners who can’t wait till we can run together. Keep the faith, we’ll get there. There may even be cookies ūüôā

Chasing The Eclipse

Solar eclispes happen more frequently than you might imagine – there’s usually one per year.¬† However, they tend to only be visible in often very inaccessible places, such as the middle of the Pacific ocean, or over the polar ice-caps.

In 1999 I travelled to France, and managed to get into the zone of totality just south of Paris.  We met up with my cousin and his family, who are also dedicated space and astronomy nuts.  Sadly, we were clouded out right at totality, though I can still remember my amazement at this great dark shadow rushing towards me at over 1,000 miles an hour.

eclipse watching agust 99

In 2003, I took my gang to Iceland, where the promise of an annular eclipse, a ring of fire rising over a glacier at sunrise was too tempting to refuse.¬† Well, I say “promise”: the good weather prospects were less than 30%, and indeed I ended up seeing only murky grey cloud becoming slightly paler.¬† But still we had a fabulous week in Rejkjavik.

lhj iceland

In 2009 my husband and I went to China, and joy of joys were in the right place at the right time to experience 6 magical minutes of totality.

getting ready

And of course had an unforgettable trip seeing other fabulous sights such as the Great Wall, the terracotta warriors, and the brash skyscrapers of Shanghai.



Eclipses go in sequences called saros: from Wikipedia

a period of approximately 223 synodic months (approximately 6585.3211 days, or 18 years, 11 days, 8 hours), that can be used to predict eclipses of the Sun and Moon. One saros period after an eclipse, the Sun, Earth, and Moon return to approximately the same relative geometry, a near straight line, and a nearly identical eclipse will occur, in what is referred to as an eclipse cycle. A sar is one half of a saros.[1]   

When my cousin and I were researching the France ’99 event, we discovered that the next one in that saros would occur on the day of their 25th wedding anniversary, and it would be in the USA.
So I’m currently well into my planning and anticipating this year’s holiday. We will fly from Dublin to Chicago, spend a few days there, before catching the¬†¬†California Zephyr train, which crosses the States terminating in San Francisco. Along the way we will stop off in Lincoln, Nebraska, and drive to the little town of Beatrice which is in the centre of the zone of totality. Beatrice is one of my online usernames, so it seems fitting to go to a town with my name on it.

So what should I pack? Chicago is the windy city, even in August, there might be rain, there will be fog in San Fran, and of course we have planes, trains and automobiles to catch.

One of the most valuable pieces that a traveller can carry is a versatile wrap, pashmina, shawl. It serves as a blanket when trying to get some sleep, is a stylish cover up for evening strolls, and can be folded into a cushion. I love this Ichi reversible wrap in dove grey and mustard, which I found on sale for ¬£10 in a little boutique in Carrickfergus called Lisa’s Attic.¬† It looks good, though the mustard side is a bit fluffy and sheds hairs over the clothes beneath.

Some companies specialise in being comfortable and stylish. I swear by my Craghoppers trousers and tops, which have features like security pockets, quick dry, and mosquito repellent. And I’ve just discovered Like Mary, an online company which makes gorgeous wraps and shawls, as well as other travel friendly clothing.

I treated myself to some cropped harem pants. I’d bought a pair of cheapie harems in Majorca and I love them for relaxing and travelling, as they take up very little room and are easy to dress up or down.

I alao bought some wrap dresses and tunics.¬† I was very pleased at the quick delivery service.¬† And when I had to return the wrap dress as it just didn’t suit me, the refund was also very prompt.¬† I packed the grey patterned tunic on a recent day trip to Dublin.¬† The sun was shining and I teamed it with leggings and a cardi for a stylish and practical outfit.¬† The tunic is lovely and roomy, with great pockets for thrusting your hands into when the breeze picks up.¬† It takes up little space in my bag, and washes like a ribbon, so it is destined to become a firm travel favourite.¬† My only quibble is with the itchy scratchy label which was annoying my neck, but I was able to remove it without too much trouble.

And they are a bit marmite, but I adore my Crocs!¬† They are lightweight and comfortable, especially when doing a lot of walking around a city.¬† And they are waterproof – I even hooked them over my wrists while swimming in Orlando.¬† So I’m not taking them out of my travel staples just yet.

Now, I wonder can I find a set of eclipse viewers among my souvenirs…….

Capsule wardrobe for Autumn

I spend far too much time faffing about in the mornings trying to decide what to wear. I’m working on compiling a few capsule wardrobe sodukos (they’re not really, they’re Latin Squares).

Here’s a sample for Autumn 2015:

4 each of tops, bottoms, shoes and accesory

4 each of tops, bottoms, shoes and accesory

Skirt 1 – black suede wraparound
Skirt 2 – gold LK Bennett
Skirt 3 – black/ white tweed LK Bennett
Crop trousers – graphite, M&S

Top 1 – Biscuit drapey sleeveless LK Bennett
Top 2 – Purple satin shirt
Top 3 – White 3/4 sleeve V neck jumper
Top 4 – Black scoop-neck tee

Footwear 1 – Black boots
Footwear 2 – Gold flats
Footwear 3 – Beige heels
Footwear 4 – Black flats

Accessories – Belt in putty, black perspex cuff, bronze/ purple flower pendant, pewter chunky. They are all laid out on a large khaki soft square scarf.

Mixing these up in the Latin square gives an outfit across each row, up and down each column, all 4 corners,and the 2 diagonals.


I think I need a pair of pewter/ bronze Skechers to wear for the walk to and from train station!

The trick to doing a Latin square is

24 hours in London

I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to w rite this blog at all – I’d taken some photos on my phone, and then lost the phone while in London. But miraculously, some of them survived on my iPad!

I was paying a flying visit to London – my son was working on his first ever West End show, and I was taking my best friend and daughter to see it on the Saturday night. Plans were to meet son and his girlfriend for lunch on the Sunday. I reckoned I could manage all this with one large handbag. I was staying with said best friend so I didn’t need to cart any cosmetics or toiletries with me.
With the hlep of Mumsnet’s Style and Beauty section, I put together a capsule wardrobe of 3 different outfits.


photo 1 photo 2 (2) photo 3 (1) photo 4

The basis was a pair of dark skinny jeans (Not Your Daughters jeans)
my brown Dubarry boots, and a beige trench coat (M&S).

For travelling, I wore a floral wrap top (Boden) with a coin and ribbon necklace (Fat Face). I carried a lavendar pashmina with beaded trim (won in a fundraising raffle in Luxembourg, about 10 years ago)


A quick change in the loos during pre-show drinks into a purple and blace lace tunic (Florence & Fred), with a choker made from a purple silk ribbon and a cameo brooch (eBay)

after london

On Sunday, I wore a cream crochet top (Fat Face), with a chunky stone necklace bought form a native craft shop on Route 66.

The lot fitted into my owl-design satchel bag.

DLP – non park days

Tickets for Disneyland Paris (DLP) are expensive, and it’s possible you may have one or two days when you want something else to do. If you’re lucky, your hotel might have a pool, but if you fancy going a bit further afield, the 2 best options are a trip into Paris itself, and a visit to the Val d’Europe shopping centre.

A Day in Paris

Travelling into the capital is fairly easy – the train station beside the park is on the RER A4 (red) ¬†line which goes straight there. ¬†Queues for the manned ticket desks can be quite long, but the automatic ticket machines are pretty straightforward and can be used in English. ¬†You’ll need an RER ticket (about 9 euros each way), and it can be worth getting a carnet of 10 metro tickets to use when you’re in town (13.30 for 10).

64QXlNhTlD2HyfwmNQtqs4Ai8oft6DvsgFa66rOjC6M,xaFx7USxzhlGr-HEnypugAzTWU84QqhDBNN1G3-ltag,zq9P1neIF8UuYI3o8stBPXCzmqfNbxm-Y8j8KTPB3ss,bp3fqyPrWgKaYOMjs_dtDr1wIxcjLSicfAlXcimHHUk ¬†Prepare yourself as you would for any big city notorious for pickpockets – keep your bags and valuables close to you, and watch out for strangers approaching you. Get off at Charles de Gaulle l’Etoile, and follow the brown signs to surface right in front of the Arc de Triomphe.

nPdTKfT7ZwQ3X4bofJSobmPt_5GzQ5ZEes5iSosi12M,Xz2e6BIqaQGvB0Rabn6_qsFvHemvrc6t_NeJaGh7wA4,aHygXRfJLiwfwNmC-JrNDbpHZclrFx2AGGpkuP_47MI,RkZlOT9L8a1GIeVbm7qyjrkUzXDFTJmqbjncsq-g0HQMarvel at the traffic whizzing about the world’s most famous roundabout, with some animal-like herding instincts telling them when to stop and go. ¬†From there, take the metro line 6 down to Bir-Hakeim, for a great view of the Eiffel Tower as you cross the river. ¬†Find a street side table for an al fresco ¬†sit down over a beer or coffee, and admire the passing Parisians.

PRwEB-v39xBNnAPiTaky6KDYyXCl_naD01wJvJroBic,PG-GkF9PXvZErwvIvLKcrw4R1L8E9yZea4w_ODndgjc ¬†Stroll along the river bank, unless you want to actually go up the tower. ¬†I normally like hop-on-hop-off buses in new cities, but they’re very expensive in Paris (31 for one day). ¬†A nicer alternative is the, which for 15 euros allows you to hop on and off at 8 of the most popular stopping points, while giving you the classic views from the Seine. (Insert in-seine joke here). ¬†Lm1YwaY9dxHmXo_17D8OIYJXW2BP51kCDddl1vUVaTU,_lmTTejFfO36GigAa_gX47y_50oxFv91p8E99HRbE0k

Get off at Notre-Dame, and walk around the detailed gothic magnificence.  At the back of the cathedral, cross the bridge to the Ile St Louis, and seek out Berthillon, one of the finest ice cream vendors on the planet.  Enjoy your glace while strolling the quieter streets in this district.QXXeNjsgCRf5GtW0bzRGdxN54x4H7nRr39OysO0cI3Y

crez6_3jc1DyVw5LmjZXusv4XU1woi5LPpfesGlLgr8,8OZPAmNUmHw35fzZNprAEz5qmYx6n9BG9pgWjEh1Ams ¬†Free toilets are available beside the Hotel de Ville. ¬†Warning: the Metro isn’t great for people with mobility issues, and the train doors don’t give you much time to get on and off.

Val d’Europe

This enormous shopping centre¬† was constructed at the same time as DLP, in order to cater for the people who’d be working in and around the parks and hotels. ¬†It is HUGE. ¬†Nicely done out with glass coverings and a spacious feel to it. ¬†There are all the usual shops you’d expect, including a massive Auchan supermarket, and Apple store, Sephora, and Gap.VztaIb_E75bNRjJ-Len5Y5_JplNba8O_1WGxn1P7gzQ,CHwLx0WB6pfE6TNLtVHAAYsKdGDXlR8Vne9rh_O7Pfs

There is also a designer village next door, with many high end shops like Jimmy Choo and Armani.  Your hotel might give you a discount card for 10% off, as will a Disney Shareholder card, but the shops might not accept these if the goods are already reduced.  But on our trip we managed to get a free coffee and bun from Starbucks.  My favourite shop here was the Parisian fragrance experts Annick Goutal, which has some intriguing and unusual scents , many of which are gender-neutral.

dlp wardrobe 001A bottle costs about 60. ¬†The shopping centre also has a terasse of eateries, ranging from McDonalds (with an automatic computer ordering system), to a Lebanese place. ¬†The Pasta Pizza restaurant does a good Menu Presto for 10 euro, comprising a plate of pasta and a drink. ¬†They’ll also serve olives and bread at no extra charge. ¬†And on top of all that, or rather underneath, there’s an aquarium in below the ground.


Most hotels offer a shuttle service to the centre (5 euros return each), or you could go by train (one stop from the DLP station).

DisneylandParis – what to wear

It’s the same problem every year – I need a capsule wardrobe to take on holiday that will allow for a number of eventualities, unpredictable weather, be comfortable enough and also smart enough, and that will fit in my suitcase without pushing the weight over allowed limits.

For holidays involving theme parks, I always start with footwear. ¬†Fashionistas will recoil in horror, but experience has taught me that Crocs are the best option. ¬†They are comfortable enough to be on your feet all day without causing blisters, they will survive splashy log flume rides, they are light and squishy enough to fit in your suitcase – I’ve even swum at Discovery Cove with mine hooked over my wrists.

Blue crocs, checked short-sleevd shirt (Craghoppers), denim cropped trousers, lightweight green jumper (Warehouse)

Blue crocs, checked short-sleeved shirt (Craghoppers), denim cropped trousers, lightweight green jumper (Warehouse)

A good alternative are FitFlops. ¬†I’m not convinced that wearing these will give me legs like Cameron Diaz, but they are certainly a practical comfortable option. ¬†They come in a wide variety of styles and colours, and the chunkier sole gives more support than the standard flip-flop. ¬†I always wear Craghoppers trousers to travel in – their zippy security pockets are very well designed, the lightweight ones are easy to wash and dry quickly, and the ones with zip-off bottoms convert to shorts or crops.

Blue crocs, checked short-sleevd shirt (Craghoppers), black cotton cropped trousers, lightweight green jumper (Warehouse)

Black FitFlops with coral toe-post, black cotton vest, stone lightweight trousers with security pockets and zip-off bottoms (Craghoppers), Mickey sweatshirt, floppy sun-hat.

A pair of wedge sliders in a metallic shade is a good choice for smarter evening wear, and works well with more casual outfits as well.

Bronze wedges, cream top with beaded neckline, black sleeveless shirt, grey crops.

Bronze wedges, cream top with beaded neckline, black sleeveless shirt, grey crops.

I love my Timberland thongs – the dark brown leather is lovely and soft, but there’s not much protection against inclement weather. ¬†I wasn’t sure about a white linen jacket, but it was very useful indeed – light and summery, didn’t crease too badly, and smartened up any outfit.

Brown leather thongs (Timberland), cream linen crops, green striped short sleeved shirt, white linen jacket

Brown leather thongs (Timberland), cream linen crops, green striped short sleeved shirt, white linen jacket

The weather in Paris is unpredictable – it’s best to prepare for all conditions, so that’s a light waterproof jacket, sun cream, and a floppy sunhat to protect against the rays when stuck in a long queue. ¬†I loved my lightweight cardigan in truffle, with shimmery apricot inserts. ¬†A basic colour scheme is useful if outfits are going to mix-and-match, and a light scarf containing the main colours in the capsule wardrobe pulls everything together.

Flat black sandals, tribal print tank, watermelon vest, truffle/ apricot cardi, scarf in apricot with blue/ brown/ cream pattern.

Flat black sandals, tribal print tank, watermelon vest, truffle/ apricot cardi, scarf in apricot with blue/ brown/ cream pattern.


And finally, remember to pack any medication you will need. ¬†Pharmacies are few and far between, and won’t sell many of the items you can buy in a UK chemist, so pack plenty of painkillers, Diocalm and rehydration salts, plasters and tea-bags (well, they’re a medical necessity for me!)

5and2 the perils of online shopping

I decided to treat myself to a colour in my hair this time. At husband’s suggestion, I was keen to go blonde, but my hairdresser felt that it would be too harsh for my colouring, so I’m a fiery redhead instead.

hair 001

I’m finding more and more of my clothes are just too baggy on me, so I thought I’d replace the sackfuls I’d given away with some key pieces for a stylish new wardrobe. ¬†I consulted the wise style counsellors of Mumsnet, and ordered a lightweight jumper from Warehouse. ¬†I placed the order from the comfort of my sofa last Saturday night. ¬†They tried to deliver on Tuesday, but no-one was in, so they left a card. ¬†I rang the number and asked them to redeliver on Wednesday. ¬†This meant asking my husband to stay near the house, despite the glorious weather that he was dying to get out on a motorbike in. On Wednesday at 10 to 6, I got a call on my mobile to say that they couldn’t find my house. ¬†(I don’t believe this). ¬†I asked them to redeliver the next day. ¬†On Thursday I rang to see what time they’d be delivering, but a guy in the depot said no, it would be Friday afternoon. ¬†Friday came and went with neither communication nor delivery. ¬†I rang on Saturday morning, only to be told that the package hadn’t left there since it was returned on Tuesday – none of the 3 people I’d spoken to during the week had written the message down! ¬†I find all of this very hard to believe. ¬†But seriously, how does a courier company like this (DPD) keep going? ¬†That is customer service at its very worst. ¬†Still no parcel, by the way.

Tuesday’s fast food was unremarkable – miso soup for lunch, homemade vegetable soup for dinner, and a ginger beer after dog-training.

Thursday’s fast lunch was broccoli and chilli soup. ¬†I’d made this a while ago, but husband wasn’t too keen on it, so I froze what was leftover. ¬†I had it with half a bag of alfresco salad from Tesco (25 cals for the half bag – very good crunchy snack food!). ¬†The weather was so warm I just ate it cold. ¬†It wasn’t too bad, tasted just a little oily, but later in the afternoon my stomach started to really complain. ¬†I was due to go out for a run, but didn’t think it wise to be too far away from a loo, so I came home from work and just dozed on the sofa. ¬†Not ideal, but at least it stopped me snacking.

hair 002

Friday weigh-in, still at 133 pounds. ¬†I’m Ok with that, I know those last 3 pounds will come off slowly, and I have a half-marathon coming up so I want to make sure I’m properly fuelled for that, and then Disneyland Paris at the end of June! ¬†If I can ever get my holiday wardrobe delivered….

5and2: M&S ready meals

I had Monday and Wednesday as my fast days this week, as it was full on busy every day!

On Monday I was struggling to go completely without food, so I had Ryvita with low-low cheese during the day, and some Bovril and miso soup. For dinner I had some leftover boiled ham, along with a salad of cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and a pesto dressing. ¬†I’d bought some of the new Nakd bars with added soya chunks for protein (they’re much tastier than that sounds!) and had one of those as a very¬†satisfying¬†100 calories sweet tooth calmer.

I was taking Thursday off to go to the Balmoral Show with my sister, so I¬†didn’t¬†really want to have that as a fast day. ¬†Which¬†left Wednesday. ¬†But I was going straight to a governors meeting after work, and¬†didn’t¬†want to be too rumbly in¬†the¬†tumbly. ¬†So I decided to try out the highly recommended¬†Marks¬†and Spencers delicious and nutritious mooli ribbon meal.

m&s food 003

This comes in duck, beef, or tuna varieties – I chose the latter as it had the lowest sugar content. ¬†It also came with ¬†edamame¬†beans, which I love. ¬†It was pretty tasty, filled its purpose for a mere 150 calories, but at ¬£3.50 I balked at¬†the¬†price. ¬†Luckily I’ve since picked up a ¬£1 off voucher, so I may try another selection¬†from¬†the ¬†range next week.

Another find was the little souvlaki chicken kebabs, at only 70 calories per skewer Рvery tasty indeed!

m&s food 012

It feels good to be fasting 2 days a week – I can tell that my body likes¬†this¬†approach. ¬†My weight is still creeping down slowly – the afternoon girly shopping trip with my sister netted a lovely size 8 jacket (also from M&S, I really¬†should¬†buy shares in the place), and I’m currently wearing a pair of size 12 jeans which are decidedly baggy and which will be going in¬†the¬†charity¬†shop bag after¬†they’re¬†washed.

Oh, and lovely surprise of the week – I received a phone call from my old University that I’d won an iPad in a draw, so I had to go over there and get my photograph taken being presented with it. ¬†So I took the opportunity to wear an¬†outfit¬†I’d bought recently on the half-price¬†rail at – yes, you’ve guessed it – from their Per Una range: indigo linen trousers, and ice-blue Tshirt with draped neckline, and a blue grey Chanel style edge to edge jacket. ¬†I was pretty pleased with the published photo, the shininess of¬†the¬†jacket looks great. ¬†And my son is delighted that he’s inheriting my old iPad.

iPad win

Canaries Cruise 3: Santa Cruz de la Palma

Wow, I think we completely underestimated the difference between June in the Med, and December in the Atlantic! It was really rough last night, drawers were falling open, the boat was lurching up and down, and rather worrying bangs and crashes were heard. I did make it to the yoga class at 8 am though – was the only one there which was probably just as well, as trying to balance on one leg while the horizon was rising and falling outside was certainly an experience. We docked at 9, and I decided to try the eggs benedict for breakfast – not a good idea. The poached eggs are already cooked, and just warmed through before serving, the ham, muffin and sauce are all luke-warm. Stuck to the freshly prepared omelettes for the rest of the holiday, which were always first rate. Showered and dressed for the rather windy weather:
Black sandals
Turquoise crops
Turquoise/ purple strappy Tshirt
cream long sleeved craghoppers shirt
and what is rapidly becoming my favourite item this cruise – a light wool scarf in block stripes of grey, navy and turquoise. Light enough to squish into a handbag, warm enough to act as a shawl, effortlessly stylish when draped around the neck.

canaries 036

Our first experience of Santa¬†Cruz, main town on La Isla Bonita, was a sort of car boot sale in¬†the¬†car park. ¬† I tried some of¬†the¬†local¬†liqueur¬†in fig, and bought a bottle of naranja for √©1.80. ¬†We strolled along¬†the¬†curiously¬†named ¬†and charmingly cobbled O’Daly Street, admiring the beautiful balconies and bright poinsettia plants growing everywhere. ¬†Bought a necklace made of basalt stone, and an orange scarf trimmed with wooden beads. ¬†The impact of the recession is hard to ignore – many places are empty, to let, or closing down. ¬†I had hoped to go and see La Barca, a replica of Columbus’ ship the Santa Maria, but Rog’s feet were starting to hurt, so we cut down onto the Avenue Maritime, and¬†enjoyed¬†a couple of espressos while looking at the still crashing seas. ¬†I’d¬†done¬†my research beforehand, and found my way to the recommended pastry shop on Avenido de la Puente, and bought a few delicious treats. ¬†Rog went back to¬†the¬†boat, and carried on up¬†the¬†very steep side streets to¬†the¬†old town, for a fabulous view of¬†the¬†harbour. ¬†I bought a bottle of La Palm wine and some goats milk soap, and was back on board for 1.20. ¬†had lunch by¬†the¬†pool enjoying music provided by Top Men, and then wee Sammi came round with quiz sheets. ¬†If I’d¬†remembered¬†correctly who wrote “Now We are 6” we might have won!

canaries 030

Wine¬†Tasting¬†at 3 – enjoyed the company at my table as we tried chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, chateauneuf du pape and a rose d’anjou.

I swapped the long-sleeved shirt for a sleeveless coffee coloured blouse, the sandals for blue crocs,  and took photos of the sunset.

canaries 065

It was formal dinner night – changed into my beaded maxi¬†halter-neck¬†dress and bronze wedges. ¬†Champagne in¬†the¬†Jubilee lounge – was a bit odd, we weren’t too sure what was supposed to be involved in this Captain’s reception, other than it was an opportunity for the on board¬†photographers¬†to take¬†some¬†more pictures to try to sell us. ¬†For dinner I had escargots, French onion soup, fish, and the cheeseboard with a glass of port.


Cruise tip of¬†the¬†day: ¬†Sunday mornings can be a bit quiet, but that makes them a great time to take photos, when there’s not many people around.