I’m Back ! I want to apologise for the recent lack of activity on The Delectable Garden, I’m sorry. So much has been happening, Work, House, Holiday and Manflu.
I guess I’ll start with work. Being a PA to a large team keeps me busy day-to-day but September was a particularly busy month. My boss had just come back from three weeks annual leave so we had a lot to catch up on, I also had events to plan and organise ahead of my annual leave. Although work never encroached on my personal time it left me shattered on an evening, especially when coming back to a building site for a home and were unable to relax. My boss and team are probably laughing at this and claiming I don’t do anything ?.
All our spare time in the past two month has been spent on the house, it’s coming on a treat now. We’ve had a crazy rush to get certain rooms to a stage where the plumber can install the radiators and our builder can sand and varnish the floors. We only have ourselves to blame for this pressure. Gary’s rota so far this year has been awful, he has been working away over weekends all summer. I work Monday to Friday so we’ve had hardly any time together. The time we did have we spent it on bonding and reconnecting before he was off again, this meant the house has been neglected until recently. We have Gary’s dad, Terry, to thank for a jumpstart. He came down from Newcastle one weekend to help and it made a huge impact on the house and reignited our enthusiasm. It is now taking shape and starting to look exactly how we pictured it. We want to have the house in a fit state for Christmas so we still have a lot to achieve in a short period.
We enjoyed two fabulous weeks on the paradise island of St Lucia. We stayed in the beautiful Royalton St Lucia resort. A few friends have commented on my lack of photo and updates from the holiday. It was mainly because we were having such a fun and relaxing time we forgot about technology for two weeks. We got into the St Lucian swing so much that we were able to tell the time without looking at a clock. It all starts at 6:30 when the birds start singing, the music and kids splash pool came to life at 09:00, the pool and beach bars open at 10:00 for a cheeky cocktail of the day, by 11:00 it was too hot to sunbathe , my belly let me know it was 12:00 when I could smell the food truck serving street food, at 15:00 the sun started to lose enough heat to sunbathe again, the sunsets behind the cliff at 18:00 which turned the sky into beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red and pink, a chorus of St Lucian tree frogs let you know it was 18:30, outside entertainment stopped at 22:30, then when the frogs stopped at 06:30 the birds where there to greet you for another amazing day in St Lucia!
The hotel and rooms are very modern, chic and well-built. The grounds are stunning and the gardeners where constantly busy cutting the grass, weeding and planting new boarders. They must be doing a good job as we saw various wildlife including hummingbirds, I’ve never seen them in real life so they were fascinating to watch.
Royalton are above other resorts I have stayed at when it comes to food and drink. We ate A La Carte every evening without having to make a reservation (with the exception of the Teppanyaki grill). Calypso Caribbean was our favourite restaurant, the crab cakes to start and St Lucian Chicken Roti were to die for. Armadillo Tex-Mex, Hunters Steak house and Italian with wood fired oven were also excellent. The Zen Teppanyaki was good to have as it is such a fun experience. The buffet had a wide range for breakfast and lunch, we never ate dinner there. The bars were well stocked with beer, soft drinks, slushes, wine, branded spirits and more importantly an endless list of cocktails. There is even a coffee shop/Ice cream parlour. The only thing that let them down was inconsistencies with service, however the management team are working hard to improve this. They’re very interested in guest enjoyment and any improvements they can make to increase it.
I usually do not take part or watch hotel entertainment however when in St Lucia, dutty wine! I blame our new holiday friends, Yvana (Miss Carnival 2016) from the entertainment team and the frozen mango daiquiris. Our favourite nights where when the local live bands came in, they were all fantastic and did a great job of working the crowd. The beach and pool parties were also fun. We were too lazy to take part in the daytime activities but we did go out on a kayak and paddle boards a few times. The beach felt very tropical with palm trees, soft white sand and calm turquoise water. It was the only hotel on the small bay which made it peaceful and secluded.
We ventured out a couple of times, once on the Tout Bagay catamaran trip and zip lining through the rainforest at Treetop Adventure Park. The catamaran trip was brilliant, we got to see the amazing Pitons, swim under a waterfall, get dirty in a thermal mud bath, snorkelling and got a bit merry on the rum punch whilst partying on a catamaran in the Caribbean Sea. We also visited Morne Coubaril Estate which is a working plantation with a stone mill and produce cocoa and coconut products. They grow cocoa beans for Hershey’s. We were able to taste the fresh cocoa bean flesh which was slimy and sweet with a taste of mango and learned how the beans are processed ready to be used. I bought back a 100% cocoa bar which I can’t wait to experiment with! We also learnt about the different fruit and vegetables on the island including star fruit, soursop, plantain, sweet potato, and bananas. In fact they export over 90% of their bananas to the UK. The zip lining was also an awesome day out. There were 12 lines wizzing through the rainforest up to speeds of 30mph 150ft high in the treetops.
Holiday Book Review
Being dyslexic I’m not a massive reader but I do like having a book to read whilst I’m on holiday and this book had a positive impact on me. ‘After You’ is the sequel to ‘Me Before You’ by JoJo Moyes. I saw the film adaptation of ‘Me Before You’ and was fascinated by the subject of euthanasia so when my friend, Kerry, told me about the sequel I had to read it. ‘After You’ concentrates on life after loosing a loved one. Not the obvious choice for a holiday read but it was also filled with love and lighthearted comedy. I’ve experiences mental health issues after losing my mum and sister to cancer 6 years ago. Being on antidepressants and going through counselling helped me through the toughest times. The book follows the main character through group counselling and touches on the stages of grief. We’ve all heard about the stages but when you’re experiencing grief you don’t tick them off when you go through them as you can’t see or feel them as a physical state. Reading the book made me think about where I am at now, I’ve not been on antidepressants or required counselling for over a year and I’m truly happy. Without realising it I had passed all the stages and I’m at a place in my life where I know my mum and sister would want me to be, living my life to the full and enjoying every day. This evaluation instantly made me feel like I could take off an invisible bereavement club badge I had been wearing since I lost them. I’m not sure if JoJo has lost a loved one and experienced this first hand or if she just did a lot of research, either way she did a fantastic job at describing the pain caused by losing a loved one and the aftermath for the ones left behind. I thought it was important to discuss this as talking about mental health can be awkward and embarrassing for some and it shouldn’t be. My sister said she felt sorry for us when she was first diagnosed with cancer as we’re going to be the ones left in pain. She was right it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever go through so there is no shame in admitting you need a little help.
I told you I had been busy! Anyway I’m back refreshed and revitalised ready to cook, bake, experiment and blog. Even though the house is upside down and the kitchen is still a hole after 5 hours of cleaning on my first day back from holiday!
Thank you for reading ?