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Paradise found.


Barbados. I can’t even say it without smiling. Birthplace of my parents. Home to many members of my family.

Miami beach….in Barbados.

I first visited back in 1983. I was in my final year at Leicester Poly and about to hit the grand old age of 21. My mum saved from her meagre payslip for what must have been a few years to buy me a plane ticket for my birthday . “It’s time you saw where your parents were born”, she announced. I wasn’t complaining. So, whilst she sat at her kitchen table typing up my final dissertation, I jetted excitedly into the unknown.

Relaxing at sunset

The love I have for this beautiful Caribbean island has never left me and I have returned many times.

Years later with a family of my own, it seemed only fitting that I should celebrate my 50th birthday in Barbados. So I, too, saved my pennies for years so that I would be able to treat myself and my divas to the holiday of a lifetime.

My divas

And what a holiday it was! Friends and family flew out to help me end what has turned out to be, six months of birthday celebrations. This may seem a tad excessive or even extravagant to some but believe me it was worth the expense because we have had a BALL!

Beautiful view from the Tiami catamaran.

I enjoyed seeing my Bajan family again and meeting new ones I didn’t know existed. It felt that everywhere we turned there was someone being introduced as a cousin…or maybe that’s just a Caribbean thing.

Young cousins at the beach

We had a brilliant day sunning it with friends on a Catamaran.


I discovered that I hate snorkelling…Hey I like breathing too much – go figure! I reconciled my fear of getting my hair wet (Diva? Moi?) and went swimming with the turtles. I even went to a specialist hairdresser to have my hair done for the first time in fourteen years – having been teased by friends who have never washed their own locs. Who knew?

Hajar of HapiLocs at work

I rekindled my love of all things rum and discovered a new love in Gin, creating a ‘new’ (to me) cocktail we named The Ridge Cooler after the villa we were lucky enough to stay in the final week.

The Ridge. Barbados.

I finally worked out that I no longer feel the need to chase the nightlife on the Island and was just as happy picking La Divas up from a night out knowing that they’d had a great time. I draw the line at clubbing along with my children – although I’m sure I could show them a thing or two on the dance floor.

Why are you rolling your eyes?

Sunset at Accra beach

I slept and I swam and I read. My birthday Kindle (thank you) became my best friend. The girls, friends, family and I talked and laughed until we cried. We made the mistake of playing dominoes with our young cousins. Nothing much beats the humiliation of being thrashed at dominoes by a 10 and a 13 year old..repeatedly..and then being laughed at…loudly.

I am so thankful for having the means to afford such a holiday and for having such wonderful friends and family to spend it with. I loved being with my  funny ladies who, let’s be real here, have driven me to the edge of sanity and back on more than one occasion.

The 3 Degrees. Barbados 2012

But most of all I’m just so glad that my mum instilled in me the importance of saving my pennies…and for giving me the best 21st birthday present EVER.

The view.

I have told my friends that my celebrations are over…for now. I know I milked it and I make no apologies. I have never needed much of an excuse to party!

What about you? Are you a celebration addict? How will you celebrate your next big birthday or anniversary? Or do you hate the mere thought of a party?

Whilst you’re thinking about it…here’s my recipe:

Ridge Cooler/Gin Cooler/Reddskin Gin

1 tsp brown sugar

2/3 capfuls Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire…pretty colour bottle!)

2 slices of cucumber, diced.

Half pink grapefruit – segments and juice.

Chuck all the above in a tall glass half filled with ice cubes. Top up with tonic water.

Drink and relax…preferably in the sun.

For an refreshing alcohol-free version… *blank stare*… omit the Gin.

Reddskin Gin!



About Reddskin

New name! New chapter! Follow me over at My name is Ms A. I'm a mother, designer and educator.

7 responses »

  1. Love ittttt! Pictures are all gorge. Another triumph from Reddskingyal! Xxxxx

  2. you going to Butlins .we should all go

  3. I love this. OMG take me back to the island maaaaaan. Nice piccies xx

  4. Wow, you certainly had a fabulous time didn’t you?!! Sometimes the best presents are the ones you give yourself eh? Love all the photos, which are now of course making me pine away for my own sunshine holiday!


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