My Holiday Keepsakes

…and the ‘Beach Hut’ full of travel treasures!

I regularly bring a reminder of my travels back home, be that an entry ticket to a fantastic experience, a handmade craft or beautiful pebble/shell from a favourite beach. Whatever the item, it’s always a happy reminder of a certain moment or place in time. I often buy items that can be displayed in my home and love the feeling you know the one..when you’re transported straight back in time, with a fond smile spreading across your face! this could happen when you walk into a room and your eye is drawn to one of your fabulous finds, when you pick pick up an item to dust or put on a piece of handcrafted jewellery.

Apart from the reminders of happy holiday moments and travelling tales, I love the individuality that keepsake pieces bring to your home. They add personality on our spaces in a way that some chain store items can’t (that’s not to say they don’t sell lovely things) and there are some beautiful treasures to be found on your travels at home and abroad.

One of my all time favorite keepsakes is this cuddly toy from a visit to Loch Ness about 15 years ago, not long after I’d got married. It still makes me smile and now my Granddaughters love it too!


As far as interiors go, the ‘Nessies’ live in my Granddaughters room. Throughout the rest of the house you will find homewares from a variety of countries including some favorites shown here from visits to Vietnam: Lacquerware (Vietnam is famed for its lacquerware or ‘son mai’), wooden animal puzzles and a silk lamp; and from Tortola in the Caribbean: a Cat ‘trinket box’ puzzle.


Some decorative items I bring back are smaller and usually displayed in the ‘Beach Hut’. No, I don’t actually own a beach hut, but there is a special little room in my house which has affectionately been given that moniker. I’ll let you guess which room it is. It’s safe to say it puts a smile on all our visitors faces.

The items on display come from places including Hong Kong, Mexico, Greece, Barbados, Curacao, Grand Turk, St. Kitts, Vietnam, and more…even Northumberland!




My keepsakes find their way into the garden too.


Of course, many keepsakes don’t go on display. It’s those little items which hold great memories, like a key card to beautiful hotel room, ticket to an event, a guide book, restaurant business card or a well worn map. Some people love to make a scrap book, for me it’s my ‘holiday box’ which holds a whole host of treasures from which I won’t be parted. I love to rummage through this box from time to time in a way that you used to look through holiday photographs, you know, the printed ones! This particular photo is for presentation purposes only, everything has now been piled..I mean placed…back inside!


Jewellery is another treasure I often bring back from my travels and I have pieces that I wear often and always with a smile. Most are inexpensive, brighten up my outfits plus jewellery is a perfect way to mark a special occasion on holiday such as a birthday or anniversary. Here are two of my favourites which were bought just because I loved them: Bracelet from the village of Plaka in Crete; Hematite necklace from Samana in the Dominican Republic.


Sometimes I bring back treasures that I can eat or drink (they never last long enough to be called keepsakes!) such as preserves, good wine from a vineyard or sweet treats such as Greek Baklava and Kataifi. Pictured here are treasures from vineyard visits: the bottle from a delicious wine from Italy and a (full) bottle of Cotto, a grape syrup from Kefalonia .


I’m also a big fan of all things Disney and have some special keepsakes including these two: A fabulous Cinderella’s Carriage musical snow globe, a wedding present bought at Disney World for my husband Ron and me; and one of our world hopper passes from our visit during Disney World’s 25 year celebrations.



Other favourites include this handwritten scroll, a gift from an artist during an excursion in Vietnam; a wooden strawberry I bought for Ron on the Caribbean island of Dominica which, when opened had the message I Love You on a sticker in the lid (which has since been lost) and was a bargain at only  $1 USD; a playing card which was used during a magic trick I helped with in Spain.


I’ve so many fabulous finds that are special to me and evoke memories of romance, fun, excitement, fear (tower of terror anyone!!), fabulous sights, smell, taste and more.

I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing in some of my memories and I know you’ll have lots of your own. I love your comments so it’d be great to hear about some of your favorite holiday keepsakes.

Thanks for reading and bye for now. June xx


Our Disney Cruise…No Kids Involved!

…And A Tale Of Two Rings!

IMG_6782 (2)This is a bit of a retrospective post, but the anticipated arrival of the cruise ship Disney Magic on the River Tyne (June 7th) has had me thinking back to mine and Ron’s Cruise and stay holiday on the sister ship Disney Wonder back in December 1999. Firstly, I have to say that we had such a wonderful time (no pun intended) and if the Disney Wonder was sailing into the Tyne I would have braved hell and high water to blag an invite to board the ship and for one reason only – to revisit the spot where Ron PROPOSED to me. Yes, you heard that right, proposed! as in marriage!

We are both HUGE fans of Disney and Cruising, so when Disney launched its first two cruise ships in 1998 we didn’t hesitate to hop on board. We decided on a cruise and stay made up of a 4 night Bahamas Cruise sandwiched between two Disney World stays (4/4/6 nts) at their Caribbean Beach Resort. We visited Disney’s beautiful private island Castaway Cay, which is all white sugar sand, hammocks and beach bar-b-ques and fabulous Nassau in the Bahamas (somewhere we’re planning to revisit later this year). Oh..and the ships are something else..beautiful!

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Up at the crack of dawn for the sail into Nassau to hear the infamous ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’ blast from the ships horn…so excuse the hair!
What may surprise some people is that we did this holiday ‘child free’. Our children were grown and we’re not strangers to visiting Disney Resorts with and without children, as do many people. However, we are often met with a surprised look when people hear we did a Disney Cruise without kids. But here’s the rub…I would have to say the majority of adults on our cruise were travelling without kids, and to be honest we hardly noticed any children on board. The children who were on board were mostly observed at breakfast and then seemed scarce afterwards. That could be down to great kid’s clubs, as some passengers told us that they hardly saw their kid all day, so good were the facilities!

The Big Kids like us were well catered for with an Adults Only pool area and restaurant Palo’s plus fantastic entertainment which appealed to all generations. We dined in a different restaurant each night as part of their Rotational Dining experience and were sat at mixed tables with American couples (again, no kids) They were great company and it was from them I gathered that one reason Disney cruises are popular with adults is the convenience of sailing on a short break from Port Canaveral. I could see the appeal, I mean, wouldn’t it be great to sail to somewhere like the Bahama’s from the Wear or Tyne? Kids or not!


Now, back to the Rings! You see, I’d had an inkling for some time that Ron was thinking of proposing (something he sort of hinted whilst enjoying a meal out and wine!!) I just didn’t know when. We’d already had the ‘if we got married’ discussion and on a trip to the jewellers for something else, I’d pointed out a ring which was exactly what I’d like IF we ever got engaged!

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Goofy touching up the paintwork!
So, one evening we booked the adult only Palo’s for a meal and I went off to have my hair put up as a treat (I love a hair or spa treat on my holiday) before donning my glad rags. Anyway, following a lovely meal we headed on deck into a beautiful dark night of inky star filled skies. Ron lead me to the very back of the ship (just above flag in photo) where we were chatting under the stars and looking out onto the moonlit sea. It was at this point I could feel Ron’s conversation changing and I just knew he was about to propose…I felt so nervous but excited and to be honest I can’t even remember what he actually said (apparently that’s normal) but what I can remember is this – as Ron was looking at me mid proposal, I could see out the corner of my eye, his hand emerge from his pocket and as he raised the ring toward me I remember clearly thinking ‘that’s not like the one I saw in the shop’!…what did emerge though, to my surprise was this…

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And with the presentation of this beautiful ring, Ron explained that he didn’t want to bring an expensive ring with him on holiday in case he lost it, so he’d sneaked off and bought me a $12 Mickey Mouse ring with pale ‘Amethyst’ stones to use in his proposal. Well I absolutely loved it…and I absolutely said YES too!

I couldn’t have thought of a lovelier spot to be proposed to. I’m so glad that Ron went out of his way to make it so romantic but with a fun element too. Another bonus was that, on the day we were travelling home for Christmas, my Brother-in-law and his family were flying in to spend the Millennium Christmas and New Year at Disney World, so we were able to meet up and tell them our good news…ahh!

On Christmas morning after all the presents had been opened, Ron asked me to check there hadn’t been any small presents left behind the tree. Puzzled I checked and then found a tiny wrapped box, which I excitedly opened to find ‘the one I saw in the shop’ twinkling back at me! Don’t you just love a happy ending?

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I hope you enjoyed my little tale and if you have any proposal or Disney Cruise stories you’d like to share I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for reading, bye for now. June xx