Confession time... I am a shopaholic. Yes I admit! it I love to shop and especially when I travel. I love to find unusual clothing that you won't see back home as I like to be different. The shoes in Italy, The linen and silk in Asia.. I am obsessed.
However I am not embarrassed to say that my body is the size of my personality... yes I am a plus size woman and earned every pound and stretch mark with each child I happily delivered. Finding my size, although not too far from the average, is often challenging especially when travelling. This isn't a problem for me usually and actually I see it as a good thing as scoping out cool unique pieces can be costly so fewer buying options just makes the search more fun and the rewards greater.
Last week this didn't quite work for me and I was forced into a difficult position I didn't enjoy.
Let me tell you my story.
I was recently traveling on one of my Masterminds Of Travel FAM Trips to Italy and it included a cruise out of Rome on SeaDream Yacht club. (super fancy) Our flight had a change in Montreal and the departing flight from Toronto was late. We had just 20 minutes gate to gate to catch our flight to Rome. On arrival in Rome Keiths bag was first to arrive which was a good sign but half an hour later when the belt stopped and the notice said "complete" my heart sank... my bag was missing.
My clothes, my shoes, my sunscreen, face creams... oh so much!
What on earth was I going to do?
I posted the question to my friends in Passenger rights who let me know I was covered for essentials so I should go shopping!
Yipee I thought! Shopping in Rome - on someone else dime.... yes please!
It was August in Rome and many stores are closed. Plus I am a Plus size 18... more challenging.
Never one to miss a shopping opportunity though I embraced the challenge with as much excitement that my head could handle without popping!
My excitement was soon replaced with disappointment and frustration as store after store either closed early for the holiday or didn't stock anything in my size.
I was running out of time and options.
My planned fun shopping spree was now a race to find anything at all in my size that I could take with me onto the cruise. I needed a bathing suit and at least three outfits to wear on board. I was meeting with clients and I really wanted to look nice.
In the end I did find a few things in a very expensive specialty store and literally paid as they were closing the door for the long weekend.
At least I had what I needed but my shopping spree had actually been a stressful situation. I had much more of a problem that I ever thought I would have.
I learned a valuable lesson.
In future my packing will be different.
I often tell clients to cross pack meaning you should pack half in your suitcase and half in your travelling companions luggage.
Carry at least two or three full outfits in your hand luggage.
Carry your favourite makeup in your hand luggage along with anything you absolutely have to have on your trip.
Pack some underwear and bathing suit in your hand luggage. - Underwear was the hardest to find in Rome and I actually didn't find any... Yeah don't ask lol.
So take a leaf out of my book. If you cross pack and you have at least your essentials that you need should your luggage be delayed and you will be in at least a better position to enjoy your first couple of days on your trip if it happens to you.
I must also say that Air canada was absolutely great. I returned to Canada. Submitted my receipts even though some purchases were expensive and they issued a cheque right away. Great Job Air Canada! A lesson learned for future though!
#loveyourself #shoppingabroad #conciergetravel #luxurytravel #plusfashionabroad #Plussizefinds
with Guest Expert Lorraine Simpson
Welcome back everyone after our summer break, we hope you had a wonderful summer. Many of the team have been traveling this summer including our host Tracy Moore who, if you follow her on Instagram, you will have seen her travel to Sicily and also California.
This week we talked about Self care. Self Care is very important and to quote every airline - “In the event of an emergency please put on your own mask before helping others.” This is true of everything we do.
As a single Mom of four I totally understand the
need for self care so I can take care of my family
better. Taking care of me is also important and I
particularly love to have my nails done and that
hour of peace and mindless chat is enough to
recharge me and the results when I do my nail art to match my next destination is so fun! I get so many comments on them.
This week we talked about a few wonderful places all over the world and I wanted to share these with you here.
The Lodge at Woodloch, Pensylvania USA
This beautiful hotel is surrounded by 500 acres of forest and they offer anything from one night to as long as you like.
Everything is included here and you have lots to choose from.
They have a vast array of fitness classes and spa therapies as well as plenty of activities such as Hiking, biking, art classes, yoga campfires and even cooking classes.
One of their special programs is called "Forest Bathing". No don’t worry its not a tin bath in the middle of the trees with some bubble bath.. A specialist will take you on a guided walk deep into the forest and help you focus on keeping the body and mind in the present while teaching techniques for deep breathing and mind-body awareness.
This place is perfect for a MOM cation. - a few days girls getaway and you don’t have to be totally off the grid and it does include lovely pampering and amazing food.
What they say..
The Lodge at Woodloch embraces a philosophy of personal awakening. As so many individuals get swept up in the whirlwind of life, our luxury Poconos resort gives you an opportunity to shift from your everyday routine and re-focus on yourself. You are able to reconnect to creative and stress-relieving outlets that will continue to benefit you long after you leave.
An escape to The Lodge will allow you to re-discover your passions or uncover new hobbies, and to leave feeling re-invigorated and re-energized. By offering choices for relaxation, fitness and wellness classes, outdoor adventures, creative discovery workshops, cooking demonstrations and wine tastings as well as opportunities for personal development through unique speakers and events, a pathway to awakening is beckoning.
Amazing Location - Discover a tranquil woodland retreat just 95 miles from the New York City and Philadelphia metro areas. The Lodge at Woodloch is located in the Northeast Lake Region of Pennsylvania, in the Pocono Mountains.
A True Escape - Located on over 400+ pristine woodland acres with a private 15-acre lake, The Lodge at Woodloch offers a private, adult-only retreat like no other.
Where Nature Nurtures- The Lodge at Woodloch teams with mother nature for a truly nurturing experience. With a focus on sustainable living, featuring locally grown produce and meats, including produce and herbs from one of our three on-property gardens, as well as carefully selected organically-minded spa-product partners.
Inspiring Service - With an unpretentious approach to luxury, guests feel as though they are at their own private country estate when visiting. The Lodge has been honoured with numerous industry awards for spectacular service and recognized as one the country's best destination spas. Let us know if you want to get the VIP Travel Offer we have negotiated especially for you.
2. Augustine Monastery in Quebec City
The Augustine Monastery is a place I recently found on my first ever trip to Quebec City. Wow what a place! I fell in love. I chose the Monastery because what they offer is a real solution to help those who need it.
set up by Augustine nuns in the 1600s as the first “hospital in North America it has Now it has been completely restored and it is now a non profit hotel specifically for wellness. One of the only designated 100 "wellness hotels" in the world.
They offer Yoga retreats, meditation retreats sleep clinics, silent retreats and all at a very reasonable cost but thats not the best part... if you are a caregiver then they will invite you to stay in one of the very comfortable rooms and attend one of their retreats for just $30 a day. INCLUDING 3 meals a day and treatments. Yoga. Meditation, Sound therapy, Massage and even psychologists on hand to teach you how to mentally cope with the emotional and physical challenges of being a caregiver. Also if you are a caregiver and want information on how you can be connected and invited to the Augustine Monastery please let me know and I will be happy to connect you -
Although it was set up by nuns all those years ago its not a religious focus in any way.. just all about taking care of YOU!
The remaining 8 nuns still reside in the same building and you can see them walking around throughout the day and they are very happy to share their stories with visitors. Right behind the Monastery is the main street in the old town so it makes the perfect location for a city break. Of course I found an amazing shoe shop and couldn’t resist, lol.
We will be hosting a small group to the monastery in January just before the Famous Quebec Carnivale. This 5 day retreat will include Yoga, Meditation classes, excursions and even a special tour to meet the artisans who make the masks and floats for the Carnival. This special few days is open to everyone and pricing and itinerary is available on request.
Space will be limited but may include special guests yet TBA . Email Lorraine personally here
I love Marriott hotels because they own many brands and pretty much rule the world in hospitality.
JW Marriott Edmonton is located in the heart of downtown in the mixed-use and entertainment ICE District.
The luxury hotel’s Spa by JW features five treatment rooms with rain showers and private balconies in each room. Spread across one and a half floors, fitness club Archetype has four custom curated group studios and innovative equipment brands such as Sorinex rig systems, Keiser compressed air technology, and a Somadome meditation pod. Led by Edmontonian Simon Bennett, it focuses on health coaching and high-performance living.
There are four restaurants and bars, including Braven, a five-star dining destination offering dry-aged steaks, quality chops and fresh seafood, and cocktail bar Alchemy. Kindred Food + Drink is an all-day eatery focusing on locally sourced, seasonal fare.
The hotel also boasts 22,000 square feet of meeting and conference space, including Edmonton’s largest event ballroom, featuring 9,000 square feet of space with ample natural lighting and soaring 22 feet ceilings.
Connected to Rogers Place Arena and within easy walking distance to Edmonton’s Arts District, River Valley and the Edmonton Convention Centre, the JW Marriott Edmonton has a unique partnership with Rogers Place, allowing the hotel to offer prime access to its guests, such as behind-the-scenes arena tours and meet-and-greet opportunities with Oilers Alumni.
When I think of an eco resort I always think of Costa Rica. Nature. Trees, Jungle adventure ... and this fun and nature filled retreat in Costa Rica is just that.
Its a Marriott hotel - Autograph Collection, called Hotel Punta Islita - but the best part is that this hotel includes everything with
You can go canopy zip lining through the trees, Hiking, tracking Birdwatching and even go on a guided Monkey quest to find the The raucous howler monkey. They are among the largest monkey species in the Americas. Its whooping growl can be heard over a 3-mile radius. Your expert guide will bring a spotting telescope so you can get a better close- up look at these monkeys.
Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Six Senses Resort in Portugal is my next stop on my wellness Map.
Beautiful location set along the river in the Douro Valley where you are surrounded by nature especially vineyards.
Did you climb trees as a kid? Well they actually have a Tree climbing course..
Their Tree Climbing Experts take you into the surrounding Enchanted forest and you can climb trees ... I love that idea
No special skills are required and this activity is perfect for everyone. Return to your inner child and enjoy the view!
You know I love wine.. well at harvest time you can go grape stomping.. get your feet right in their crushing those grapes... its a real workout you know!
Six senses are known all over the world and here they also have a series of Wellness Programs:
Alchemy Bar Workshop – A wellness activity that will teach you how to make cosmetic products through learning alchemy. You can work with a variety of herbs, fruits and spices, feel their textures, smell their wonderful aromas and create your own laundry, pharmacy and kitchen products. It is also possible to make body scrubs, face and hair masks, lip moisturizes, home fragrances and much more. Directly outside the Spa changing rooms is the alchemy bar, where potions of herbs, salt, fruits and a range of exotic ingredients are individually blended. A hands-on workshop in which we emphasize local, in season, 100% organic ingredients from our garden
Six Senses Integrated Wellness, an innovative approach to wellness that allows the group’s in-house experts to measure and analyze key physiological biomarkers to provide guests with lifestyle and nutritional advice, and design a personalized program of spa treatments, fitness and wellness activities based on the preventative principles of the Eastern medicine approach and the result-oriented Western influences.
Sleep with Six Senses program allows guests holidaying in places of incredible beauty, with empathic service and exceptional experiences to also have the opportunity to enjoy the best sleep imaginable. Sleep is unreservedly recognized as the most important contributor to an individual’s health.
The Holistic Anti-Aging Clinic targets the effects of lifestyle aging in a highly personalized program. Humans are living longer but not necessarily better. Whether from crowded and polluted cities, or fast food and daily stress, lifestyle impacts in health and longevity. This program aims to show that outer beauty comes from a healthy body and a happy mind, just as much as proper skincare. With its holistic approach, this program is all- encompassing, helping to achieve a balanced body and mind state for ultimate well- being. Celebrate outer beauty, enhance inner beauty and thrive on brain beauty
A series of Yogic Programs: Discover Yoga, Yogic Detox and Yogic Sleep, were introduced to allow guests to experience yoga in a deeper and more profound way. These programs bring together the expertise and skills of in-house yoga masters with the healing properties of the surrounding environment.
Activities include Canyoning, rafting, wine tasting, Nature walks and bikes and all are offered every day so here you will certainly be busy.
Baden Baden, A Black Forest town dedicated to Wellness
We have talked about wellness centres, spas and wellness retreats but what about an entire town dedicated to wellness?
In South East Germany in The Black forest there is a pretty town called Baden Baden.. small spa town, where mental and physical wellness isn’t just a goal, it’s a part of everyday life.
More than 2,000 years ago, Romans discovered
the 12 healing thermal springs, that run 2,000 metres underneath the city of Baden-Baden. The springs produce the hottest and most mineral rich water in the country, its healing properties are absorbed through drinking, inhaling, and bathing.
Every property in this town has a wellness focus of some kind but Villa Stephanie is truly a modern, progressive medical spa.
Located in the centre of the historic spa town of Baden-Baden, in the heart of the Black Forest, The House of Wellbeing, Villa Stéphanie, is a cutting edge medical spa.
An unrivalled landmark of European hotel culture - the Villa Stéphanie destination spa.
By opening the house of wellbeing they united the past with the present
and the future. In the 19th century, Anton Alois Brenner gave the town the Stephanie-les- Bains, a hotel which has carved its name in history. The farsightedness of his son Camille saw the enhancements develop into an opulent ensemble that placed emphasis on health, beauty and wellbeing – a vision that still applies today.
Today’s Villa Stéphanie bears witness to a woman whose name still stands over the house like
a guiding star: Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden and adoptive daughter of Napoleon I. The building's history is just one aspect of the 2000 year heritage of the spa town Baden-Baden. Under one roof you can find individually tailored health and mental care in a familiar atmosphere covering medical coverage, emotional balance, detox, fitness and beauty care.
As required, it is your choice whether you take advantage of an inner and outer whole-body cure or if you select individual components from their comprehensive range.
They offer preventative diagnosis with tools like a camera that is the size of a pill that you swallow to analyze your intestines and digestion.
There are also programs such as a full hormonal diagnosis where they can figure out how to best help you through any hormonal imbalances you may be dealing with...like menopause or after an operation that alters your hormones. Of course there are diet programs... up or down, injury recovery, dental and cosmetic procedures.. you name it.. If you need dental implants it is actually extremely cost effective to get it done in Europe.
If I can help in any way I am always available to speak to you about travel.
Also if you are a caregiver and want information on how you can be connected and invited to the Augustine Monastery please let me know and I will be happy to connect you
Please follow me on instagram @lorrainesimpsontravels
Your fellow Travel Addict! www.lorrainesimpson.com email@example.com
Self confessed travel addict not looking for a cure, just the next fix! As a writer, College Professor and a Luxury Travel company owner Lorraine Simpson has all manner of access to feed her travel addiction.
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