I don’t even know where to begin when trying to explain just how memorable and beautiful our trip to the Maldives was. Reem and I were so excited to finally be on a vacation with our mum, the three of us have never made a huge effort to spend this much quality time together and it was far too long over due. We’ve collated so many images so beware, this post is a lot larger then usual but it makes for some decent day time escapsim.
We booked a five day stay at the stunning Conrad on Rangali Island, and apparently, when it comes to visiting the Maldives, depending on which hotel you choose, makes or breaks your vacation. Luckily, we chose well because The Conrad was everything and more that you expect from an island getaway. Eventually it stopped feeling like a hotel and more of a home away from home in this paradise land. Reem, mum and I had a stunning water villa to call home and it was just perfect. Picture two beautiful bedrooms, a bathtub rivalling the size of most London flats and a terrace with the ocean as your own private pool. We didn’t spend much time indoors (obviously) but when we did, it was homely, comfortable and sometimes even surreal. There were so many windows and open spaces, and being on top of the water like that was so therapeutic. We’d go to sleep and wake up to the sound of the waves gently crashing, and when you were in the shower or (giant) bathtub, you could even spot all the schools of fish or baby sharks swimming in the sea.
UNDER THE SEA
If we weren’t booked in for a massage at the overwater spa, or a yoga class on the beach, we were cooling off in the crystal clear waters or snorkelling with baby black tip reef sharks. Reem and I decided it was time to face our irrational fear of the deep blue and ventured off my boat to the middle of the Indian Ocean with some of the staff at the hotel. We snorkelled in a reef off of one of the nearby islands and the experience was so unforgettable. The minute I put my head under the water and saw all the coral and fish all the fear just left me. We’re both kicking ourselves for not investing in some underwater camera cases, because we can’t share the moment that we got to swim side by side with some turtles, or when we spotted Nemo and Dori. Luckily no larger sharks than the one pictured below were seen, but apparently the reef sharks are very harmless and aren’t very interested in us anyway.
On days when we felt a little less adventurous, the hotel offered lots to do, and by lots to do I mean, it has some of the most beautiful stretches of beach all three of us have ever come across, so after breakfast, we’d pick a spot on one of the two islands and hang out all day. We learned very quickly that it is totally unnecessary to make an effort to try and sunbathe. The sun catches every inch of you here. The sands are white and the waters clear, meaning it bounces off everything, so if you’re planning on making a trip, we suggest being militant with sun protection.
Of course we weren’t going all the way to the Indian Ocean without aiming to tick a few more things off of our bucket lists. We boarded one of the beautiful yachts at the Conrad and went on a dolphin cruise at sunset, although I didn’t do a very good job of snapping them, the dolphins visited us in such a fun, dramatic way. There were so many of them and they were jumping, chasing each other and a couple even did some twirls and spins in the air. It was one of the biggest highlights of our trip and so, so memorable.
SHUKURIYAA (Thank You)
Being able to walk around barefoot, eat delicious food at the many restaurants, (if you visit you have to try Koko Grill and Ithaa, their underwater restaurant) as well as relaxing on the beautiful beaches, and ticking so many adventures off of our bucket lists rounded up this trip to be one of my favourites of all time. We are aiming to re-visit the Conrad on Rangali Island again because to tell you the truth, once you’ve been it’s hard to imagine never returning, the staff were so friendly, they never forgot our names and even little things like dietary requirements were kept in mind all the time, and when you go so far away from home those things always count.
After doing this trip Reem and I realised just how much we love mixing our travelling with work, so we’ve decided to add travel as a permanent category to the blog. We’re hoping to plan another trip together this year and would love any suggestions you have tweeted to us!
It’s hard to argue that there could be a stronger bond, then that between a mother and daughter. Natalya and I are so blessed to have such a wonderful mum in our lives. When I’m back in Dubai, I spend the majority of my time with my mum, going to the gym, learning new recipes from her, having lunch somewhere healthy (if you follow her on Instagram you’ll know that there’s no other option with mum), or just hanging out in our PJ’s watching The Real Housewives of something somewhere. There’s no question about it, our mum is our best friend. She’s been there for us through everything, she’s our biggest supporter, number one fan and I doubt there’ll ever be a moment when she won’t be.
With so many holidays keeping us busy with never ending to-do and wish lists each year it’s hard to remember the reason behind them all, but if there’s one to mark a date in your calendar for, it’s Mother’s Day. Which is why we’re so pleased to be collaborating with Swarovski again for a special editorial starring our beautiful mum.
Natalya and I decided to surprise her with a breakfast in bed at our suite in the Damac Maison whilst we were still all together in Dubai and have our own early Mother’s Day celebration. We dug out some old photographs (remember those?) from back in the 90′s when we were both so little and mum’s style was a thing of envy, and over lots of laughs, some serious questioning along the lines of “Where are those Chanel pieces, now?”, we gifted her with a beautiful pair of delicate earrings from Swarovski’s current collection and of course, she loved them.
I hate that I can’t be home with these two every day, so all I can say is thank God for Skype!
I’ve been meaning to share a little bit of my recent weight loss journey with you all. I know I’ve mentioned NYLA Method before, which has helped me get used to toning my body but the root of my weight loss delves a little deeper than that. I’ve always been a curvy girl, and there’s no wanting to change any of that, but it was still no excuse for not being able to weigh in a little lighter.
I reigned in the help of a personal trainer friend of mine who put me on a strict schedule of 4-5 workouts a week, mainly being cardio and weight training, but more importantly he gave me a meal plan to stick to. It consisted of protein based meals, eating around 4-6 times a day with barely any carbs, (a part from my one slice of brown bread with poached eggs in the morning) and no refined sugar. I’ve always been a very fussy eater, and up until recently never liked fruits or vegetables, but I decided that enough was enough and it was time to mature my palette and way of thinking about what foods I put into my body.
I stuck to the meal plan and exercise for over twelve weeks and was so happy to see the weight just shed off. It was my first realisation that it really is all about what you eat. I’m sad to say that I’ve fallen off the wagon in recent weeks, especially during Reem’s trip to Dubai and our vacation in the Maldives, but not all was lost as we did make it to a couple of yoga classes on the beautiful white sand beaches of The Conrad and went for a few short runs across the bridge that connected the two islands.
Slowly but surely I’m getting back to my routine and just wanted to share my journey with you. I had a few people trying to put me down and tell me that I would never get to what I wanted because of my curves, I could never be a ‘skinny girl’, but that’s not my aim, I want to be the best version of me, it feels good to be proving those people wrong. I have so much more confidence now, tons more energy and a new excuse to justify shopping for better fitting clothes.
If you’re on the same journey keep it up, we’re all in it together!
Photography- Reem Kanj.