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A sweet reprise in Windjammer Landing, St. Lucia

Imagine lying on a beach, completely isolated from your busy life back home. Armed with a book and a strawberry daiquiri, you walk down the hillside from your private villa towards the oceans, the sweet smell of salt water rushing over you.

Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort is located in St. Lucia, along the coast of Labrelotte Bay. The resort is made of stunning villas with ocean and hillside views, complete with kitchens for when your family doesn’t feel like restaurant dining, Wi-Fi for reaching your loved ones back home, and upgraded bath amenities for absolute relaxation.

What makes Windjammer Landing unique? According to Scott Seger, managing director of Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, “it starts and ends with the staff. Having lived in several Caribbean islands, the people of St Lucia are, in my opinion, the friendliest and genuine.”

Seger describes the resort as a boutique-resort feel, meaning it’s large enough that guests never run out of things to do, but small enough that individual needs are met. Groups and families are welcome to stay in personalized villas with staff available to help book adventure tours, spa visits, and reserve space in one the numerous restaurants available on the resort.

“All travellers are different so finding what works best for one is tough,” Seger said. “The great thing about Windjammer Landing is we can be a great fit for couples and families. We can help create your perfect holiday. Beach dinners for two and five restaurants designed for families with dietary concerns. Our villas can provide the setting for romance with special touches with you in mind. We can customize your time here to get the most your holiday.”

This customization is what guests remember the most. Tripadvisor reviews show staff were incredibly accommodating and customer service was top notch. Travellers marvelled at how the resort was perfectly populated so the beaches weren’t overcrowded, even with the number of families visiting. Cleanliness was another common theme, as well as the quality of food on the premises.

The resort is all-inclusive, which means travellers can participate in complimentary windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Guests will enjoy Mediterranean-style architecture, over 64,000 square feet of pristine beaches, nightly entertainment, and of course, fine dining.

“Our most popular event is our Friday night “Fish Fry,” said Seger. “Don’t let the words fool you, the fish is freshly prepared several different ways. I.e. grilled, Cajun, jerk. The setting is right on the beach next to Embers restaurant with a DJ or band playing local music and creating a street party right on the beach. So much fun!!!”

Seger said Windjammer Landing was lucky enough to not be hit by hurricane Maria, but the storms have presented new challenges for the business. “This hurricane season was one for the record books,” he said. “Many of our neighbouring islands were affected greatly and will take several months or years to fully recover. St Lucia and Windjammer Landing missed all effects of the winds and rain associated with the hurricanes. Getting the word out to the world stating we’re open for business is our big challenge.”

Seger was thrown into the position of managing director a year ago under unfortunate circumstances, after the former managing director passed away. He said the last year was bitter-sweet, but he has tried to honour his predecessor’s direction while still infusing his own personal style into the job.

“I thinks it’s important to not forget the people that make Windjammer, Windjammer.”

Windjammer Landing is having a winter special at the moment, with 40 per cent off all room types. There is also a special on the all-inclusive “Romance Package“, with sparkling wine, flowers, and a couples massage.

Eat, explore, and relax in South America

Popular vacations typically include European back-packing trips or Caribbean cruises, but let us not forget about South America and all the beauty this continent has to offer. Truly different than the North — South America is home to some of the world’s most natural wonders as well as culture, activity, food, and dance. Here is a breakdown of the top places you should visit in South America, if you are looking for a different type of vacation. Let us explore, eat, and take ease:

Explore:

In the past few years, many travellers have decided to indulge in vacation spots that have more to offer in terms of eco-tourism. With pristine rainforests and exotic wildlife, every day in South America is an adventure.

Colombia
The Amazon adventure: Colombia is home to about 55 natural reserves and 23 of them have park rangers to help tourists engage in safe and fun adventures. The Amazonia also occupies 42 per cent of Colombia. The Amazon River that passes through Colombia is home to famous Anaconda snakes and pink dolphins. The Amacayacu Park is the most easily accessible spot and is located on the southern side of the Amazon River near the city of Leticia. The visitor’s centre of the park has been closed since 2012 due to severe flooding, but accommodations have been made with several Indigenous communities in the area that offer camping, cultural display, and craft activities.

Pink Amazonian Dolphin

Guyana
If you are ready to immerse yourself in a truly natural rainforest experience, Guyana is the place for you. Located along the northern coast of South America, this English-speaking territory is home to vast areas of untouched land, from savannahs to a portion of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon Rainforest stretches into nine different countries in South America, with the majority in Brazil. The Iwokrama Reserve located in central Guyana is home to the Iwokrama Canopy Walkway in the Mauisparu region. This is the only tourist canopy walkway in the Guyana shield. The canopy, which is located 100 feet above the forest floor,  cost US $180,000 to construct and is made using adjustable steel cables and aluminum. The canopy has a unique design that allows trees to grow normally between the four spacious platforms. Tourists can spot wildlife, including the famous spotted jaguar, as well as engage in bird watching and night walks to explore biodiversity in the area. At the base of the canopy walkway is the Atta Rainforest Lodge where guests can stay overnight.

‘On the Canopy’ Iwokrama Guyana

 

Eat:

South America is home to many different cultures and meals, including arepas in Venezuela and peanut soup in Suriname. There is something unique to find in every country.

Argentina
This beautiful and vast South American country is home to one of the most spectacular landmarks, the Andes mountains. Argentina is also known for its food, in particular their steaks. The cut of steak is very important in Argentina and many farmers raise their cattle as free roaming. In Argentina, they also cook the steaks through a process called asado. Asado is similar to what we would refer to as barbecuing, however, it is slower and smokier. The primary base for asado are compressed charcoal pieces instead of propane. There is a popular steakhouse in Buenos Aires called La Brigada where the steaks are so tender they can be cut with a spoon. Some popular choices include ‘Asado De Tira’ which are essentially short ribs and ‘Bife De Chorizo’ which is a juicy sirloin steak.

Chile
The love affair with Chile and red wine dates back to the 16th century. The most popular types of wine available is Cabernet Sauvignon, Pais, Carmenere and Merlot. There are many varieties of vineyards in Chile and many are located in the southern region near the flat lands at the base of the Andes Mountains, providing a stunning backdrop for wine tasting and exploring. Chile is voted as one of the top ten wine producers in the world and some one of the most popular spots includes Casablanca Valley, which is located along the coast near Santiago and Valparaiso. One of the most popular times to travel to Chile for wine tasting is during the Grape Harvest Festival, which takes place from March through April.

 

Ease:

An important part of a vacation is the relaxation — a time to be lazy and to enjoy the simple things in life, even if that includes reading a book on a sandy beach or relaxing by a midnight bonfire.

Bolivia
This relatively small South American country is landlocked between Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, but still has its own unique cultural experiences to offer. Bolivia is known for the world’s largest salt flats, located in the southern region of Uyuni. The stunning salt flats attract wondering tourists due to its unique ecosystem and stretching views of the glistening salt late. There are, however, many areas in Bolivia that offers different experiences. For something more low key visit the region of Copacabana, located near the border with Peru, which offers a warm and comforting feel of a small town. Copacabana is nestled between two hills near the Titicaca Lake, one of South America’s largest lake. Copacabana is also known for its many churches and religious festivals. The stunning Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana takes up a whole block in this small town. The Basilica is home to the Camarin de la Virgen de Candelaria— a famous 15th century statue. Legend says that if she is removed Lake Titicaca will rise up in rebellion.

Basilica de Copacabana

Brazil
This list would not be complete without one of the largest and well known countries of South America —Brazil. Various parts of Brazil provide different experiences, from carnival in Rio de Janeiro to the famous rodeo. If you are looking to relax along a beach you are in the right spot.  Copacabana beach is the most famous beach in the country, but if you are looking for something more tranquil and quiet, Prainha beach may be the best choice. Located just a short drive away from the busy Rio de Janeiro, this beach sits at the forefront of rainforest covered mountains. This is the ideal getaway from all the excitement and hectic nature of travelling. For more information and the best rated places to stay in Brazil, consider using a site such as AllTheRooms.com that offers comprehensive event guides for different areas and the best suggested places to stay.

Prainha Beach – Rio de Janeiro


Hope you enjoyed our short trip around South America and let us know in the comments below where you plan to visit next.

5 ways to manage and reduce stress

When I was younger, I would hear news reports that listed the leading cause of death in the world — the number one cause often being stress. I never understood the self-inflicting harm associated with stress and adulthood. When people are younger, they tend to enjoy life, to live freely with caution to the wind. As you get older,  you transition and are shaped by your environment. By adulthood, people tend to have their own personality, which they reflect on to the world and are often affected by change. Depending on a person’s psychology and personality, they treat themselves differently in these stressful situations.

Some people love the push and rush associated with stress-related work deadlines, and some people crumble at the slightest sign of disruption. From personal stress in your relationships to professional stress related to your job, they are all causing you harm that may end up being a silent killer.

A recent survey conducted by job site Monster Canada, found that stress is the leading motivator of people leaving their jobs. Results indicated that employees in Quebec and Ontario feel overworked. The study found one in four Canadians quit their job in 2016 due to unbearable work related stress. Causes are often related to poor salary, location, age and most importantly a work- life balance. While some companies support a positive work-life balance, other jobs can be so demanding there is no work-life balance.

Understandably everyone is different. So maybe you’re on the grind, a business entrepreneur, working for your family, living your dream job, but always remember to support the healthiest version of your self and that includes you mental health and managing stress. Women’s Post has compiled some short tips on how to live a more relaxing lifestyle.

Just Breathe

Sometimes, we all need a little break — just a small moment to ourselves. Deep breathing is often found to calm your heart rate and promote a state of relaxation. Five deep breaths are all you need. Maybe even try breathing exercises or meditation and set aside ten minutes in your day.

Relax

Just take a day, or a couple  days off if you need to regain control of your life again. When you take a day off, commit that day to your self and putting your priorities first. Get a massage, read a book, go shopping, go to a movie alone, and find time to enjoy your own company and activities you love.

Healthy eating + activity = a healthy mind

On the note of relaxing, it’s vital to also spend time focusing on your diet and exercise. Sometimes these activates escape us and the thought of sleep is much more appealing. While sleep is fantastic, working out also hits you with a rush of feel-good endorphins so you end up feeling really fantastic after a workout. Our diets are also very important. A recent study found that eating too much pasta can trigger depression. Now don’t go giving up your favourite foods — just adjust your diet accordingly.

Say No

Sometimes saying ‘no’ can be the healthiest thing to do for your self. No excess burdens and obligations. Don’t feel bad about what other people think. Do things for your self, don’t over commit and prioritize! If you rather take the time off to go see a movie than volunteering this weekend, do it! Make yourself happy.

Love and Care

Spend time with those you love, speak about your problems, your friends and family should be a positive source in your life. Spend time with the people that make you happy, even quick phone calls to the one you love can help alleviate daily stress. Too often we spend our time around people who are full of negative energy and are emotionally draining. You should just cut that negativity our of your life.

Just remember that in the end, life waits for nobody, so if you’re finding it hard to keep up, just take a break and I hope by reading this you feel less stressed already.

Share some peace and love in the comments below!

5 ways to enjoy your staycation in Toronto

Do you have some vacation time coming up this summer — but don’t feel like (or can afford to) going on an international trip? Whatever the reason may be, it might be worthwhile to think about a staycation.

A staycation, in case you are not familiar with the term, is essentially a vacation where you are at this moment. You can make it a nationwide staycation or maybe narrow it down to the beautiful and diverse streets of Toronto. The city life isn’t for everyone, but there are enough places in Toronto that will make you fall in love with it for all the right reasons. So grab a few friends, your family, a loved one, or venture out on your own and enjoy these spots. Women’s post has compiled five Toronto hotspots you may enjoy this summer.

St Lawrence Market

Toronto natives may be familiar with the sprawling and rustic look of St Lawrence Market located along Front Street or in the Esplanade. This classic farmer’s market is an indoor structure with over 100 various vendors, offering prime cuts of meat, creamy cheeses, artisan bakers, fresh fruits, aromatic spices, antiques and hopefully almost anything you will find around the world. Touring St Lawrence market is like taking a trip around the world in the span of a few hours. Allow yourself time to soak up the mix of culture and eclectic vibe from many of the vendors. Some places to check include Carousel Bakery, offering the classic peameal bacon sandwich, Churrasco’s,with Portuguese style chicken and Raani Foods, offering a variety of Indian curries and chutneys.

Interested in learning more? The St. Lawrence Market also hosts a number of events and private dinners.

Kensington Market
Kensington Market

Kensington Market

Kensington Market has long been known for its unique vibe in the city and many tourists come to the area thinking that it will be a similar situation to St Lawrence Market. Kensington market is an outdoor collection of diverse shops, with something for everyone on each corner. In 2006, the market became a national historic site. Nestled between Little Italy and Chinatown, expect a wide selection of street foods, vintage clothing and one of the most amazing and one of a kind gift shops in the city, Blue Banana Market. And be sure to take pictures of the artistic graffiti walls.

Mill Street Brewery Tour- Distillery District

Niagara may be great for wine tours, but Toronto is home to a collection of craft beers and brews that you might want to indulge in. Mill Street Brewery was founded in 2002 and is named after Mill Street in the historic Distillery District. The district is home to Victorian industrial buildings, dating back to 1832, when it was a collection of buildings operated by Gooderham and Worts Distillery. Restructured and reopened in 2003, the district offers a selection of dining experiences, shops and cultural events.

Miraj Hammam Spa- Shangri-la Hotel Toronto

One day is all you need, and while there might be be spas on almost every street corner in the city, the experience at Miraj Hamman Spa by beauty brand Claudalie Paris offers a truly relaxing, wholesome, and cultural experience . Without giving away too much details, the spa is described as “ a voyage inspired from the ancient rituals of the Middle East to the Vineyards of Bordeaux.” Choose treatments of your choice but also be advised to check prices beforehand.

Spa
Caudalie Spa Treatment Room

 Drake and Gladstone Boutique Hotels

If you are looking for a different experience and you want to spend a night or two away from home, there are many boutique hotels in the city that you can easily enjoy. The Drake Hotel and The Gladstone Hotel are just two examples along the vibrant street of Queen West that promotes art, culture and entertainment. The Drake hotel is home to delicious foods, 19 guest room, and even and underground bar featuring different DJ’s. The Gladstone hotel, features guest rooms that are tiny but each with a unique theme and designed by different artists. There is a Canadiana room, a Teen Queen room, and a Biker room among other 34 choices. Staying at the Gladstone is like being a part of art.

 

Let us know in the comments below some of your staycation choices.

Hello Spring! Now, get outside!

Have you ever gone outside just for the sake of going outside?

Taking a walk outside and breathing in the fresh air, running along the beach, or just sitting in a field of green can work wonders for relaxation and stress-relief. Nature can be incredibly peaceful and rejuvenating — and luckily in Canada, these green spaces and beaches are accessible throughout any landscape.

Most people feel they need a reason to go outside, whether it be to play sports or for a planned outdoor adventure to get their next Instagram photo opportunity. Instead, why not just go outside for the sake of it. When I’m in a bad mood, taking a break and walking outside cures the blues faster than almost any other possible solution. The fresh air, sunshine, and peaceful silence creates an appreciation of life that is impossible to find anywhere else.

If you aren’t quite sure how to get outdoors for the pure enjoyment of it, the secret to success lies in making sure you do it mindfully. Don’t go outside equipped with your phone to distract you. Free yourself from all your devices and take your lovely self for a walk and really look at the world around you. You will find that there is so much beauty to see once you remove yourself from the bubble of technological existence. Birds still exist. Trees actually grow taller. It is amazing how much can be noticed without our phones two inches from our faces at all times.

Take note of how your body feels when you are outside as well. It is good to stretch out in the open space and understand which muscles are sore and target those areas. Even doing yoga outside would feel relaxing and in tune with how nature can make our aching bodies feel better.  Even if you have a cold, talking a brief walk can help get some fresh air into your body and may rejuvenate you if you have been inside sleeping for a long period of time.

Next time you find yourself with a free 30 minutes (or even an hour), go outside and revel in the oncoming spring. There is so much to be thankful for in good weather, and taking time to appreciate it leads to a more fulfilling and connected life. The more people use the greens paces and natural areas, the more likely it is to be conserved for future generations. Get outside today and enjoy it!

Meditation: the best way to relax with your kids

Children are often overstimulated with too much screen use, too many weekly recreational activities, and too much interaction with the busy urban world that surrounds them. Teaching children how to meditate gives them a stress coping strategy that will be last the duration of their lives. Using the power of breath in any given moment has limitless positive effects on a person’s ability to focus, calm down, and lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

Every night before going to sleep, my five-year daughter and I meditate together. She is often overtired when it gets close to bedtime and is also hyper from the many activities and social interactions of her school day. Meditating for 15 minutes helps both of us to relax and transition into the quieter part of our evening together. When I tell people I meditate regularly with a five-year-old, people often respond with disbelief. “How is it possible to meditate with a young child who constantly has the case of the wiggles,” they ask.

First off, don’t expect a young child to meditate for longer than 10-15 minutes. It is difficult for the little people to stay still and asking a child to remain in a meditative state any longer than a quarter of an hour is unreasonable. Children won’t stay completely still when meditating either, but it will be a positive experience as long as their eyes are closed and they are engaged.  My daughter and I use various online videos that are made specifically for children. They are free and a wide variety is offered. There are also a variety of free apps to download on your phone if preferred.

The main difference I’ve noticed between regular meditation recordings and alternatives made for kids is the way the information is presented. Kids’ meditations often include a storyline relating to a candy mountain or a princess castle that gives them something to imagine while they lie still.

At age five, children have spectacular imaginations and it is ingenious to use their ability to create fantasy worlds in order to get them to meditate. My daughter is so enthralled with the recordings and visiting these imaginative places in her head that she will actually ‘shush’ me if I ask her a question or interrupt. She takes meditating very seriously and it must be silent for the whole 15 minutes (very shocking and hilarious to hear my child asking me to be quiet).

Within the visualizations at candy mountain or the princess castle, the fundamentals of meditation are embedded into the storyline. When you get to cinnamon bun square, you must ‘breathe in deeply’ and ‘stretch your toes’ after you wake up in your princess bed. It works like a charm and is very relaxing. I recommend finding a children’s meditation that also includes motivational messaging alongside the breathing exercises. Our favourites also include messages that say ‘you are a great person’, ‘you are very smart’ and ‘think of all the people who you love and love you’. Motivational messaging and self-love meditations are incredibly healing and help give kids a sense of confidence and security.

Another important element when meditating with kids is a space to do it in. My daughter and I use specific pillows and lay down in our living room. If you have the extra room, create a permanent space meant specifically for meditating. It helps young children connect that space with relaxing and quiet time. I also allow my daughter to have her stuffed animals meditate with us too. Making meditation too serious will make it unenjoyable, and that isn’t very relaxing. Laying down in your meditative space and dimming the lights will also set the mood and helps kids to calm down faster.

Meditation has helped my daughter to fall asleep more easily and is fantastic bonding time for both of us. It also forces busy moms like myself to lay down and set a good example by relaxing for 15 minutes of the crazy day! I have noticed it also helps when coping with tantrums and emotional moments. My daughter will take deep breaths if asked and is slowly developing a life-long coping strategy for stress. In the midst of baseball, swimming, girl guides and work, it is important to slow down and enjoy your kids. Meditation allows for this time and space, and is an invaluable experience.

How do you meditate with your kids? Let Women’s Post know in the comments below.

Embracing the quiet of November

Winter is cold and formidable, with seemingly endless dark days mixed with the dread of venturing out into the windy snow-blown streets. On the other hand, it is also a time of quiet thought, where the snow creates a peace that summer has never known. Saying that, my favourite month of the year is November. The ushering in of winter is also a silent reminder to take space and revere in silence is a blessing in disguise, something we all tend to forget in the warmer months.

As the longer nights settle in to stay and the clock turns back for the winter ahead, I’ve always felt a change of pace in November. People seem to push each other less on the subway and there is something absolutely adorable about everyone donning their winter layers and looking strikingly penguin-like.  I believe with our inherent connection to Mother Nature and the earth we live in, most of us experience a sort of metaphysical pause when the fall fades into winter. Whether it be drinking a slow coffee at the shop instead of rushing out the door with an iced latte or writing in a journal by the fireside, the elements force us to consider how vital it is to slow down and relax every once in awhile.

Even the land reflects a more relaxing setting for breathing deeply and sleeping in that extra five minutes. The leaves fall from the trees and orange, red, and yellow fade from the landscape only to be replaced with a snowy landscape and a beautiful grey and purple sky. If you luxury of a skyline view of downtown every day at work, you can see the mauves and blues of this sky hinting at winter, and reflecting against the buildings. The November city skyline glitters with silver and purple, and temporarily I can forgive the sun for not showing her illustrious golden hues.

Instead of fearing the emerging winter cold, pull your scarf close and take a deep breath of the fresh air. After you do that, grab a coffee and walk down the street while wearing fuzzy red mitts from Hudson’s Bay. Listen, and what do you hear? Nothing but the sleeping sounds of a city retreating for a moment to relieve itself from the hustling and bustling of spring, summer and fall.

This is also the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed, the memories you made this summer and the love you felt. It is also a time to nurse your heart from being broken if it had been, and forgive yourself for your mistakes. In these moments, you can also dream about your future. What will the next year bring? Who will you meet? Where will you be at this time next year? Before the Christmas craziness takes over and the winter hustle and bustle begins, drink in the meditations of sweet November.

Embrace the quiet of winter for a moment. You won’t regret it.

Are you adult enough for an adult colouring book?

It’s arguably the biggest new trend of 2015. With spots in Amazon’s Top 100 book list, as well as rave reviews from critics all across North America, adult colouring books are the perfect Christmas gift for the creative person in your life.

I couldn’t help myself when I went Christmas shopping the other day. I just had to pick up a copy. Anna Karenina: A Colouring Book Love Story includes images reminiscent of the Elizabethan era, complete with chandeliers, gowns, princesses, and princes. As an English student, this was the book that spoke to me directly.  I knew I was about to start something exciting when I found myself grabbing a pack of coloured pencils the same day to start ‘expressing myself’. Plus, at an average cost of $10-$15, they’re actually affordable.

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I came home that night and sprawled across the living room floor with a cup of tea and my hair in a messy bun, taking the persona of my version of a stereotypical artist. I took out my pencil crayons and hesitantly put a mark on one of the paintings. Surprisingly, it took a lot of effort and concentration to fill in the red lipstick I wanted the woman in the drawing to be wearing. The drawings are done in a rather intricate way and is definitely not meant for children (despite what some people may say!). I found the process rather calming, as I deliberately thought out which colour would look good in which area of the drawing. I was careful not to go past the lines- as difficult as that was -and did my best to make my work look artistic. In the hour and fifteen minutes that I spent behind this colouring book, I not only recalled my childhood, but I was distracted from my technology. I also confirmed a lot I knew about myself — I am a perfectionist with the attention span of a three year old.

Despite not having any professional background or experience in fine arts, the effort I put behind my artistic piece(s) would lead anyone to believe I was prepared to release them in an art gallery. I expressed utter disappointment when my colouring tactics were looking less than par, and put a little too much thought into each colour. Because let’s face it, what difference is there between a light green leaf and a dark green leaf? I went back to each flaw and tried fixing them using blending techniques and filling them in more deeply, thinking I could obtain the artistic abilities of Picasso in a matter of one hour — without natural talent, an instructor, or thousands of dollars of tuition. I used my fashion sense to try and colour bloc flowers and patterns.

The precision and perfection that these books encourage was definitely a huge barrier for me. I started more then five drawings without completing a single one. I can’t say that I’ll go back to finishing them either. I learned that the expectation of perfection is the first thing you have to let go of. Letting things flow naturally is the only way to acquire the therapeutic feeling that is said to come out of these colouring books. Because in the end, the result of my hard work and precision was a flower on one page, a sun and sky on another page, and half a lady on yet another page.

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Since my full fledged art session, I’ve only gone back to my colouring book a few times more. The pages are rather overwhelming for the average person, although the drawings do help create a sense of direction. I mean, let’s face it – I would never purchase a sketch book for myself and expect to freestyle. A colouring book, however, seems like the perfect activity for when you have a lot on your mind and would just like to relieve some stress. As my exam season winds down and my family and friends have started to come out of hibernation for the holidays, I am no longer as interested in my book as I was when I purchased it in the midst of deadlines and exam schedules. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s another aspect of #studentlife.

After trying our these adult colouring books, I came up with the following conclusion: Maybe I just don’t qualify as an adult yet.  However, I do not regret my purchase. It’s aesthetically pleasing and helps keep you away from your phone for at least 20 minutes. But, if you don’t Snapchat your progress, are you even colouring? Besides, colouring is not something I would usually take up as a hobby, so the thrill of trying something new is rather refreshing in the midst of my mundane routines. I’ve decided to take this project up as an opportunity to let go of my perfectionist ways and just let the drawings be what they’ll end up being. If that means colouring a horse pink, then so be it! Quick tip: avoid googling finished adult  colouring book images, because you’ll most certainly be disheartened at your lack of colouring abilities. Despite this, I did come across some drawings that I will eventually want to colour (to its full potential)  because of the sheer gorgeousness that the artist has captured using mere ink.

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The overall verdict: give in and purchase yourself and/or your loved one a copy. It’s a fun way to do something childish while still being an adult. Plus it’s trendy, so why not?

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Ste. Anne’s Spa is the perfect escape to relaxation

What is the cure to our modern, hectic world?

This autumn, take a trip to Grafton and check out Ste. Anne’s Spa, Canada’s favourite spa. A quick jaunt from Toronto, you can treat yourself to mud wraps, massages and facials, among other relaxing options.

The estate features both a eucalyptus steam room and a fieldstone grotto, where you can hang out in the hot tub before cooling off in the plunge pool.

For the ladies, the change room offers a unique surprise: colour therapy hot tubs. Yes, you can soak your weary bones in a fuchsia sea.

The special treat for the season? Mocha fusion. Using coffee as a natural exfoliant, this spa treatment will replenish your skin from toes to scalp and clear your mind. The ultimate full-body experience.

Ste. Anne’s also offers wellness classes, giving guests the chance to participate in yoga, stretch or meditation classes. Under the tutelage of Jenn Hall, guests are taught the various poses involved in several branches of yoga. These classes are also occasionally offered as a special retreat, the best way to get the full Ste. Anne’s wellness experience.

If you want more than just a spa visit, there are numerous options. Guests can visit the Spa Bakery and catch one of the culinary demonstrations. Watch as Pastry Chef Khushroo guides you through the process of creating amazing desserts.

Or take a lovely guided walk (or snowshoe!) through the Northumberland Hills. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you visit nearby forests, creeks and even the local farm.

You can even arrange for an equine experience. Ste. Anne’s maintains stables and lets guests interact with the horses in various ways. Groups are kept small, to ensure guests feel comfortable and willing to ask questions.

Guests can choose several options: from watching the stablehands perform daily horse care, either morning muck or evening turn in; to grooming time, which gives visitors the chance to groom a horse; to the learn to ride program, a new program which offers visitors the chance to learn the eight horsemanship levels, from grooming and harnessing through to full diagonals.

“The learn to ride program has just kicked off and two guests that have signed up for the five day program both made it through to the trotting stage,” the stable caretaker, Kareylee White, says.

And if you have a fear of horses? “All of our horses are very friendly, almost too friendly sometimes,” White assures me.

Whether you want to run away for a day or a weekend, Ste. Anne’s Spa is the perfect escape from busy city life.

Want to experience the Ste. Anne’s experience for yourself?
Head over to our St. Anne’s Spa contest page to win a day spa for two!

RELAX: The power of baths

Growing up, my family considered baths to be the best treatment for everything from sore muscles to broken hearts. A quick shower before work or school was common; however, it was far less appealing than evening baths. Following a rough day, a stressful exam or a long, uncomfortable bout of the flu, baths were the go-to cure. This power to heal both body and mind was instilled in me from a young age and has stuck with me into adulthood.

While undeniably relaxing, baths have a beneficial detoxifying effect as well. As you sweat in the warm water, built-up toxins are cleared from your system. Once your body has removed these toxins, it will then soak up and benefit from any minerals added to the water. Furthermore, detox baths have been known to lower blood pressure, help with circulation and ease muscle pain.

Here is a great detox bath recipe to get you started:

  • 2 cups Epsom salts (I prefer lavender scented ones for added relaxation)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground ginger (this opens pores and increases body temperature, causing more toxins to be released)
  • 1 cup of baking soda (the alkaline helps to pull toxins from the body)
  • optional: essential oils of your choice

Since you are losing hydration through sweating, it is important to drink plenty of water both during and after the bath. I like to do this about once a week, especially during the winter months. Typically I stay in the bath for around 40 minutes.

It is important to be cautious when in hot water, especially if you have any medical conditions related to blood pressure or if you are pregnant. Consult a doctor before starting a detox bath ritual.

 

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