It’s hard to believe that it is now almost March and that the worst of winter (fingers crossed) is hopefully over. Now there is nothing left to do but dream of coral lipstick, citrus fruits and blooming flowers…
Happy Tuesday, lovelies! After having spent Family Day appropriately with the kiddos, I felt inspired by the soft delicate elements in design, so wanted to do a post about objects and pieces that give off a sweet, light, ethereal vibe. If you’re like me, you would gladly take a break from this grey day with some of the items listed below. If you don’t have time to go through everything, might I suggest Lana Del Rey’s newest single, ‘Love’ to sweeten up your day.
In spirit of Valentine’s Day, I am dedicating this week’s Monday Moods to one of my great loves, the colour pink (and red). Whether you have romantic plans with your partner, or are celebrating solo, I hope you have a wonderful week filled with all kinds of love!
Although I feel like the second half of winter is always the coldest, I am optimistic and excited for Spring now that February is among us. As such, I have been looking at all of the fun things that are coming out and making a wish list for a seasonal refresh. If you too are feeling a little pent up and are over winter vibes, check out my picks for this week and let me know how you prepare for the upcoming season.
My family has never been on a real legit vacation…ever. We (and by we, I mean my parents:) have a cottage in PEI, which I’ve been going to since birth and adore more than any single place in the universe, but, it’s not really a vacation when we go there…I thought it was…but then I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico, with Air Transat, and well…now I know what a vacation is.
The week of our lives began with a preview of Air Transat’s Southern Destination options, of which there are many! After careful review, we selected Riviera Maya, Mexico and the Azul Fives Resort…we wanted a place that would accommodate our large and I guess, slightly un-conventional family, with four kids ranging in age from 22-3. As we would soon find out, the Azul Fives could not have been a more perfect choice.
And once all was planned and arranged, the departure day for the trip of our lifetime arrived and we were off.
Because we set up the kids with Air Transat’s Kids Club, and took advantage ofAir Transat’s Option Plus, we were off to such a great start. The kids of LOVED getting their ticket badges in the mail before the flight as well as all the treats they got while on board..us grown ups LOVED the priority check-in, great seats, and complimentary pillow, blanket, champagne and snacks…especially the champagne;)
As someone who doesn’t necessarily love flying (thanks to the crazy hormonal thing that happens once you have children and henceforth become afraid of way too many things lol,) I was delighted to discover how smooth a ride a nice large aircraft delivers…I’m used to the prop plane/1-2 hour jaunts that jiggle you around like a kid high on life in a bouncy castle, so consider this cat a long ride/big plane convert;) I also loved how surprisingly short a trip it is to get from snow and ice to the most perfect, non-humid wonderful heat I’ve ever experienced.
Once we arrived, a shuttle bus was waiting for us so we loaded up and after a quick drive to our resort, found ourselves standing in front of doors to what can only be described as heaven on earth…Azul Fives Resort, by Karisma…
I can’t really, adequately sum up how incredible this place is/was…as someone who has never before experienced an all-inclusive resort, to start off that whole thing with a gourmet inclusive experience has quite simply, ruined me for life. As part of their Famili Collection, Air Transat has curated a portfolio of five-star resorts that ‘blend fine cuisine, deluxe spas and exclusive privileges, that are havens of relaxation and pure bliss.’ Truly, I couldn’t have said it better myself…that’s what they are.
Exclusive to Transat, the Azul Fives was perfect for us. We had a ground level condo that had two totally separate apartments within. In the main area, we had a full size kitchen, a dining area with full bar (like really a full bar…as in one you’d go to to buy a drink…only everything on it was complimentary and there for the taking…whenever you wanted…in your room,) a living area and master bedroom with full ensuite. And of course the most important part, giant sliding doors that led out to our own little backyard with patio, grass and a view of one of the many pools that intertwine so beautifully between the hotel complexes. In the other apartment, there was a bedroom with two queens and a bathroom…the kids had their space and we had ours…perfect.
As part of the Luxury All-Inclusive Collection, we were also treated to our own personal butler (we actually had two and I loved them both to all the ends of all the earths,) who made dinner reservations, escorted us (in a golf cart no less…kids LOVED that) to wherever we wanted to go on the resort, arranged beach services, made sure the fridge/bar were filled, helped with adventure package organization, checked-in multiple times/day to make sure we had everything we needed, and generally just made sure we wanted for nothing while we were there. And at every single step, made sure to say, ‘it’s my pleasure.’ whenever we made any kind of request…and the most amazing thing was, you could always tell that he (they) actually meant it.
While there, it felt like every person we met was genuinely enjoying in the happiness we were experiencing…it was my favourite part of the trip. We all felt so welcomed, which was so incredibly good for the soul. Walking in flip flops with less cares in the world than I can remember feeling in a long time..saying ‘Ola’ to everyone you passed and getting a happy smile in return each and every time…drink in hand…kids skipping happily in front of you…warm sun on your face…it was bliss…pure and simple…bliss.
What the resort and trip as a whole seemed to do, was make anything that could possible get in the way of real time with your people, disappear. Everything is done with the soul, far-reaching goal of giving you a chance to re-change, relax and enjoy…enjoy long minutes and long hours that fade into the next without you noticing…enjoy the total lack of needing to be somewhere other than where you are…enjoy watching your kids not being on their ipads but instead frolicking in a pool until their skin wrinkles and then staying in for an hour after that…enjoy not having to cook or clean or schedule a play-date or make sure homework is done or the kids are in bed on time…enjoy not having to think about hats, mits and snowsuits…enjoy adventure…enjoy relaxation…enjoy each other.
And though the very best part was having a solid/undistracted week with our full 6, part of what was so amazing was also being able to spend time individually and in different kids/grown up combos…hubby and I even got to squeeze in three date nights…in one week lol…we basically blew a year quota in 7 days…this was all thanks to:
Our 22 year old…having a child who is a grown up, has so many perks…she’s way more fun than us, has more energy, and is super quick/has eyes like a hawk…there’s no one I’d trust my little kids more with so being able to split into groups, with her watching some, while we watched the others, was mucho beuno.
What really made grown-up and kid alone time possible, was the super fantabulous on-resort Kids Club…
…this place was EVERYTHING!!!! With a full schedule of hourly activities, all day/every day, we could pick and choose and take the kids any time they wanted, without having to reserve ahead etc. So if one wanted to pop in and try their hand at making a pinata or joining a dance party, off we’d go. If all of them wanted to join the movie night from 6:30-8:30, off they went, and out to dinner with grown ups only we went. It was perfect. And the people who worked there and were simply the best…enthusiastic, helpful, and clearly so happy to be caring for our kids. We were genuienly sad to say goodbye to the staff when we left because it honestly felt like our kids had for real bonded with each and every one of them.
Kids Club = ALL OF THE VERY BEST VACATION THINGS
So yes…flight, great…resort…great…and then there was Mexico as a whole, and whoa, did we ever fall hard…the culture…the geography…the architecture…and most importantly, the people…love all around.
As part of our trip, Air Transat helped us organize a few excursions…they have an office at the resort that can guide you through planning day trips to so many incredible locations in the area. After looking at all the options, we decided on a full day adventure with Alltournative (who were PS, so good,) to two of the most memorable places we have ever been…Cinote Maya and the temples at Ek Balam…
There really aren’t words to describe this day. After a 2 hour drive though Mayan villages and Mexican countryside, we arrived first at the temples and spent time just wandering around, completely mesmerized by our surroundings. I admittedly had a small mommy panic attach watching the kids walk down the I don’t know…500 stone stairs that reached…I don’t know, 100 feet in height…without any sort of hand rail…was um…terrifying. I may or may not have hidden in the woods and had my 10 year old (who didn’t scale the building,) relay progress messages of how the others were doing making it down the steps. Other than that, it was totally and utterly incredible.
After the temples, we made our way through more villages to Cinote Maya…here we got to experience a real Mayan ceremony and then the bestest part…we got to swim in the Cinote…two of our kids repelled the 75′ into the natural cave pool, while the rest of us took the steps…what we all did was swim in the dark, incredible water and experience total and utter magic…it was weirdly spiritual…just totally overwhelming in its specialness.
And once all the adventure was done, we sat down and enjoyed a lunch cooked by local villagers that was soooooooooooo delicious…then back on the bus and home just in time to relax a little more and pass out from all of our adventure fun.
A few days later, we ventured off to El Dorado Maroma for a morning of water fun. We took a beautiful catarman out to sea and then then my oldest and I jumped off the side, for a little snorkeling fun. We had hoped the little ones could join as well but it was a windy day and the waves were just a bit too much for their small bodies lol…we all loved the boat ride though and the views from the sea of camels walking the beach (who knew that Mexico had camels!) and beautiful white sand beach (the sand at this beach was legit like flour…I’ve never seen or felt anything like it).
Our two adventure days were both ones we’ll never forget…ever. Together, we got to experience places, scenes and moments unlike ones we’ve ever before…memorable in all the ways.
Memorable in all the ways really sums up our trip as a whole…it was everything we had dreamed of in all of our years of ‘one day we’ll take a really amazing family vacation’ dreaming. It sounds cheezy to say but I truly think it changed us for the better…we saw a world and a place very different from where we live, in a great many ways…but what we also really saw, is how we’re all so much more similar than we are different and how important it is for us parents, to invest in showing our children that the little bubble we live in isn’t the world. We want them to see more…learn more…do more…more than we’ve been doing. This trip showed us the joy in that. It might mean that we spend less of stuff…spend less on hour house…spend less on the day to day. Maybe it means that we tuck a little away every month so that we can do a trip like this once a year…not sure…it means something though…something worth changing things for. And for that, we as a family, will be forever grateful to Mexico, Air Transat and the Azul Fives resort.