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INTERVIEW: Taryn Brumfitt, author, film director & mother on embracing your body, setting a positive example, & having your best family holiday yet

We all know kids learn by example. They pick up social, emotional, and vocal queues from their parents at a scary rate which can then go onto form life-long attitudes and values.

When it comes to holidays, especially beach-side ones, the thought of standing bikini-clad on a beach has many scrambling for a few vigorous last-minute workouts in hopes of being “bikini body ready”. But what is this teaching our children?

Well, after spotting her on a beautiful family getaway to Club Med Bintan Island in Indonesia, we spoke directly with a woman who is dedicating her life to making sure the ones leading by example (that’s you folks, the parents!) are understanding what this is not only teaching ourselves, but teaching our children too.

Taryn Brumfitt is an Australian-born, internationally-loved, author and director of the social-change documentary, Embrace. After creating her award-winning documentary encouraging women worldwide to embrace their bodies, Taryn identified the need to also ensure we’re learning this important value from a much younger age. Ever since, Taryn has been running marathons, writing books, and much, much more, all to raise money for her next big project: the Embrace Kids documentary. Did we mention she’s also a mum of three?

So, what’s Taryn’s secret to staying so positive with so many life and societal pressures? Here’s what we found out:

You’ve had quite a busy start to the year! Tell us a little bit about what’s been happening in your world over the past few months.

As I write this I scratch my head and think ‘What HAVEN’T we been doing!”. One of the missions of the Body Image Movement is to create content and products that inspire people to embrace their bodies, so we’ve been flat out creating and launching earrings, necklaces, yoga mats, embrace warrior woman prints, we’ve really had our creative on! The best thing about all of our products is that 100% of proceeds goes towards the next film we are currently financing – Embrace Kids documentary. We also wrote and recorded a kid’s song (https://abcmusic.lnk.to/Embrace) I’m writing my third and fourth book simultaneously (don’t ask me why!) and we’ve taken over 1000 women on the journey to embrace through the online program – Embrace You. I also ran a marathon, which was crazy and hard but we raised over $50,000 for Embrace Kids so it was worth the pain!

2    Wow, you have achieved so much AND managed to fit in a family holiday to Club Med between it all! Knowing you had so much going on, why did you feel this was the moment to take a holiday?

 I am sure any parent reading this agrees with me when I say life with kids is so fast-paced, there’s always something to make, somewhere to go, a present to buy, sport, sport, sport. SO. MANY. DEMANDS!!  So, I actually think ANY moment is a good moment to sneak away!

3    A recent study* found that a staggering 40% of shared ‘family time’ is spent checking smart devices, and parents are looking towards holidays as a chance to spend quality time with their loved ones. Is that one of your major travel motivators? Did this holiday allow you to spend quality time with your family?

 My children are 13, 11 and 9, they have grown up with screens so this figure whilst staggering actually doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s a constant battle for a lot of parents to manage screen time, it’s also quite frankly exhausting! Our Bintan holiday helped us to reconnect with one another through quality time in the pool, in the ocean and playing lots of soccer! I think the holiday reminded the kids of how much fun there is to experience off the games and screens!

 4    Did you notice any changes in your family on holiday? Did you bring home any healthy habits or learnings from your holiday that you’ve integrated into your family home life?

 I really noticed how connected the kids were with each other.  I remember lying by the pool one afternoon watching them play harmoniously together for over an hour – this never happens at home! They were laughing, having conversations and using their imaginations by making up games, it was actually really beautiful to watch.

 One thing that we did bring home is the importance of eating together. My boys have soccer training 4 nights during the week so it’s rare that we can all sit down together for a family meal. Our holiday in Bintan reminded me of how much I missed this time, so now we eat together as often as we can however we can, it might be brekky or lunch on the weekend, sometimes it’s afternoon tea!

5    The mark of a successful holiday is one that caters for every member of the family, allowing you to spend time together, but also to have precious time with yourself and partner. Did Club Med tick all these boxes for you?

 I call it the holiday trifecta, time for me, time for us as a family and time for my husband and I. Yes, a mighty big tick in all of the boxes!

 To be honest I usually find family holidays quite exhausting, this trip to Club Med was the first time I’ve EVER come home from a holiday not needing a holiday.

 What I loved most about Club Med is that we didn’t have to think about mealtime, the enormous buffet with several choices of cuisine meant that everyone’s needs were catered for.  Best of all - you don’t have to wait, you arrive at the restaurant and a minute later you’re eating, this is key (for peace and harmony) when you have kids who are starving because they’ve been on the go all day.

6    Holidays are a great opportunity for some screen-free downtime however, it’s easy to be inspired by your beautiful surroundings and share each minute of your holiday on social media. Do you have any holiday rules for screen time on holiday?

 Yes, we did, rules are essential when it comes to screen time! We had roughly half an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. We would take photos throughout the day only on my phone (for our own keepsake) but sharing was kept to a minimum, maybe one or two images a day.

 I think it’s really important to acknowledge how easily it is to become wrapped up in sharing every single moment of our lives but what I try to do for myself (and teach my kids) is to experience the beauty of a moment through the lens of your eyes, not always through your camera.

7    You’re a big believer in being your true, authentic self on social media. Why is this so important and how do you approach this with your own family?

 If you are not being yourself, who are you being? If you are pretending to be something that you’re not, what does that say about you? There is a great quote from a guy called Steve Furtick, he says “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.” Oh so true, and even more so on social media. I have over half a million followers across a number of social media channels and I thinks its my responsibility in a sea of photoshopped ‘picture-perfect’ images to show some of the messiness of life. I think people appreciate and feel comforted by seeing someone else’s wheels fall off occasionally!

8    You’ve dedicated your life to encouraging people of all ages to embrace themselves and concentrate on feeling their best, not simply looking their best. What are your tips for feeling confident on holiday?

 Practicing gratitude is key. Every morning on your holiday, before the day starts, take a couple of minutes to be still and grounded and reflect on how fortunate you are to be on holidays - no work, no washing, no cooking, no stress! What a privilege! If you have a tendency to be self conscious about what you look like on holidays (hello bikini for a lot of women), create a mantra to help set the intention for the day, it might be something like this:

 “Today I am going to enjoy my body and seek out adventures. My body is not an ornament; it is the vehicle to my dreams.”

 Worrying about your body on holiday can rob you of the whole entire beautiful experience of being on holiday. Remember that no one actually cares if you have a bit of cellulite on your thighs or some extra jiggle on your butt. NO ONE CARES and nor should you. It is NOT the soul purpose of your life to be at war with your body, especially when you’re on a beach with a mojito in your hand! 

9    Did you feel that Club Med enables people to be their ‘best self’ while on holiday?

Absolutely! You don’t need to think about a thing, I’ve never been more relaxed. What I love most about Club Med is how it’s all inclusive, there’s no stress about the cost of 5 burgers for lunch or a round of cocktails by the pool. A couple of years ago, on holiday at a resort I ordered 3 milkshakes by the pool for the kids, when I got the bill I nearly died, it cost $21. These kinds of expenses put pressure on families, Club Med takes all of that worry away.

Another example of how the ‘all-inclusive’ structure helps people connect with their best self is if you enjoy doing an activity you can do it again and again and again, with no charges. Snorkeling was our ‘again and again’ activity, we did it as a family every day. The kids loved cruising in the ocean on a boat and they had so much fun with the instructors. Usually on holidays these kinds of activities would be a once off, not at Club Med, we were serial snorkelers!

10   What is your message to anyone feeling like they need to get ‘bikini body ready’ before a jetting off on a beach-side holiday?

Try not to get too caught up with how you are going to look on your holiday, rather spend more time on how you want to feel on your holiday. I hear so many stories of people who get sick on holidays and I’m pretty certain it’s because they are so focused on punishing their bodies in the lead up to a holiday to look a certain way. Smashing their bodies to get toned, dieting to lose kilos, obsessing over calories and engaging in dysfunctional eating. I’m sure these people start their holidays and their bodies are simply exhausted. Getting ready for a holiday is stressful enough – where will the dog go, who will housesit, finishing off the work to-do list, we DON’T need another pressure added to the list!

11   You speak about finding ‘Sparkle Moments’ in life. Did you experience any on your holiday?

 Yes, lots! I am always seeking out adventure. I was 3 weeks away from running my second marathon whilst in Bintan so I had to keep my training schedule up in between the Pina Coladas! One morning I went for a run through the jungle, what made it a sparkle moment was that I had a bum bag full of mini bananas and the jungle was full of monkeys! Every time I heard a noise in the bushes I imagined a monkey jumping out and attacking me!

My biggest sparkle moment in Bintan was going for a skinny dip in the ocean! I strangely woke up at 5am (strange because I like my bed in the morning!) and with the family asleep I decided to go meditate on the beach. The beach was so peaceful, the water was so warm and there wasn’t a single soul in sight. I got the urge to swim, so ungracefully and in a panicked state I undressed, threw my clothes on a rock and dove in. It was pure bliss and felt very sparkly! 

12  Tell us about your upcoming project, EMBRACE Kids.

 I am currently financing Embrace Kids, it’s a documentary on body image for 8-12 year olds. My first film Embrace was seen by millions of people around the world and had a profound impact on how people felt about their bodies. The feedback I received over and over was “If only I had seen Embrace when I was a child”. We know that negative body image is the number concern of children, we also have the data that proves the ‘cut through’ of education through film.

No child should spend their life at war with their body like so many of us have, the cycle has to end now. We need to encourage our children to know that their bodies are not ornaments in life but rather the vehicles to their dreams.

 Embrace Kids doco will have the same heart and soul as Embrace, just without the f-bombs and vulva scene!

 This film is so important; once made we will give it away to schools across the globe as a FREE resource.

 How can we get involved?

We need to finance this film, so far we’ve raised just over $150,000 towards our $500K target, so lots of work to be done but there are many ways everyBODY can be involved…  

Firstly, make sure you sign up to Body Image Movement at www.bodyimagemovement.com and connect with us on socials. Then go check out the GoFund me page  https://au.gofundme.com/f/embrace-kids-documentary and make a contribution, even just a fiver will help! If you are a business and would like to make a tax deductible donation, head here: https://documentaryaustralia.com.au/project/embrace-kids/  If you want to partake in some guilt-free shopping with 100% of proceeds going to Embrace Kids, check out our products  here: https://bodyimagemovement.com/shop/

And one tip for any parent reading this, know that in the eyes of your child you are Kings and Queens, they are looking to you to model positive body image behavior, they are sponges, they are taking it all in. So nourish your body with food for energy, move your body for pleasure and not punishment and always, always speak positively about your incredible and magical body.

Island Getaways: Club Med 2019 Gold List

Daydreaming about a beach getaway to have your perfect winter escape but wondering where to go?

There’s sooooo many destinations to choose from and yet it’s super hard to pick one that’ll feel like the perfect holiday.

To help you find your little paradise, we’ve selected our favourite beach holiday destinations in some of the most beautiful islands of the world!

Picture yourself amongst clear blue water and white-sand beaches with palm-trees … Paradise awaits you!

Club Med Finolhu Villas - Maldives

credits: @hobopeeba

credits: @hobopeeba

Maldives is the home of hundreds of marine life species - it’s a paradise for those who love snorkelling. You’ll have an amazing time discovering the wonders of the ocean and swimming with colorful fish, graceful manta rays and reef sharks.

Its uniqueness

In this Exclusive Collection resort, enjoy the peace and quiet of a private infinity pool. It’s the perfect place to relax in the middle of the crystal blue lagoon, or enjoy a floating breakfast...tastes like luxury!

Club Med La Plantation d’Albion - Mauritius

credits: @chloebarryhang

credits: @chloebarryhang

Mauritius is a beach-lovers’s dream! Discover natures treasures by walking along the coastline of the resort, with the breathtaking view of the preserved coves: blue depths of the Indian Ocean, black lava rocks…with no one else around. Our Green Globe certified resort is an ideal place to reconnect with nature, relax on the beach, and enjoy the authentic Mauritian hospitality.

Its uniqueness

At Club Med la Plantation d’Albion, experience the close encounters with the dolphins in their natural habitat: an unforgettable time that you can share with your friends and family for ever-lasting memories.

Club Med Bali - Indonesia

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Explore the hidden gems of Indonesia at Club Med Bali! Dive into Balinese culture with a range of different experiences: water-sports, jungle discoveries, temple visits, Balinese dances, the list goes on… After your exciting adventures, you can relax by our Zen pool or soak in the delightful spa.

Its uniqueness

Club Med Bali, renowned as the best family resort, offers a brand-new Amazing family program to give parents the opportunity to create special memories with their little ones, with a daily choice of outdoors activities that family can do all together.

Club Med Punta Cana - Dominican Republic

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Your turquoise playground awaits you at Club Med Punta Cana. In the middle of the Carribean sea, Dominican Republic it’s the best place to experience your dream beach holiday with its white-sand beaches bathed in crystalline waters.

Its uniqueness

Thanks to our partnership with Cirque du Soleil, Club Med Punta Cana is offering the activity Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil. If you are tempted by a circus experience near the beach, enjoy the acrobatic & artistic activities and express your creativity up in the air!

Feeling inspired? All you have to do is escape the winter and fly to one of these exquisite destinations! Don’t forget to share your island memories on Instagram with us! #ClubMed

Top tips to make your home a little piece of paradise

Have you ever wondered how your interior affects your mind and your body? What feelings do you have while entering your home? Does your home inspire you to be relaxed or creative? Is it reflecting your personality and your passions?

Allow your surrounding to tell a story, and let a simple smell, sight, sound, or taste take you back to your happy place.

Be inspired by your recent Club Med holiday and start a mood board for your home!

Here are our top 5 tips to help you make your home feel like your little piece of paradise:

1. Collect unique local items during your trip

The object will not only be an additional styling piece for your home but also a combination of stories and emotions you felt while buying it. Meeting with local designers will also encourage you to deepen your knowledge about the culture of the country, the materials and the techniques used to create these unique items. Cheap in price but valuable in worth! Make sure you’re careful with non-treated wooden items which may not be allowed through Customs at the airport.

Our favourite spots to visit here:

Less than 1 hour drive from Club Med Bali

Carga – perfect shop for gifts/homewares, cushions and textiles that will please both adults and kids. The kids handmade toys and dolls are even more than beautiful, they also help to raise money for street-kids in Bali.

Bungalow Living Bali - Designed and produced in Bali, these homewares are mostly all handmade products, we can’t resist!

Less than 30min by speedboat and ferry from Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas

Oevaali Art Shop – you will find painting inspired by Maldivian culture, as well as cushions and candles.

Less than 1 hour drive from Club Med Guilin

Morningsun Gallery - Get an authentic taste of Yangshuo and find art pieces representing nature using traditional calligraphy art.

Less than 1 hour drive from Club Med Cancun Yucatan

Ki Huic Market - Dive into Mayan culture and unearth colourful serape fabrics, hand-crafted gifts and other accessories for your home such as traditional blankets.

2. Indoor plants

Adding indoor plants to your home is a great way to inject a pop of colour and hint of exoticism, while also providing the best Instagram picture. Indoor plants also improve air quality in your home - according to the NASA’s Clean Air study, some plants have positive benefits on health by eliminating harmful toxins, such as the Chlorophytum comosum (the spider plant), the bamboo palm, the Ficus elastica and benjamina. Create your own nature therapy and get some inspiration from the plants below:

3. Add a touch of blue

Blue is a colour that reflects trust, freedom and calm - doesn’t this sound like the perfect feel for a home?

The possibilities are endless so add as much or as little as your please - a splash of blue on your pillow, carpet, painting or even alternate some of your curtains with blue hues like below for some sweet Mediterranean vibes.

4. Candles and lighting

Lighting can help transform your home from a stark space into a haven of tranquility and calming atmosphere. Simply light a few scented candles and place them around your home, or get creative with some of the below ideas:

Bring a touch of nature into your home by wrapping leaves or vines around the base of your candles (careful not to place them too close to the flame). Very fairy-chic! Another great idea is to place flowers and leaves in a bowl of water and float your candle on top.

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Wondering what to do with all these rocks your kids collected for you from the beach?

5. Do It Yourself

Feeling creative or looking for a rainy day activity with your children? Sourcing materials that inspire you while on holiday and creating your own personalised decorations at home is the best way to get your interior as unique as you are. Feel the texture, shape your object as you imagine it to be, create your own style and find how the small irregularities add charm. You will soon find you value this object much more than something you’ve purchased in a store, especially if you enlist the help of your little ones. Let your imagination run wild and create your own pillow cases, a tablecloth, a small statue, or art for our wall.

At Club Med, we believe that holidays are the best time to free your creativity and explore new sides of your right brain. Join us for an arts and crafts must-try activity in Bali, Phuket and Kabira and meet local artists who will share their knowledge and expertise to help you to create a unique piece that you’ll be able to bring home afterwards.

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Looking for the temples of fabric in the world? We’ve pulled some recommendations for you:

Less than 30min drive from Club Med Phuket

Ban Boran Textile - where you will find cotton textiles from Chiang Mai as well as fabrics sourced from Southeast Asia's tribal communities.

Thai Silk Collection - vendor of quality silk fabrics for homeware and also fashion, everything you need to create soft bed sheets, pillow covers and ultra-soft cushions.

Approx. 1 hour drive from Club Med Bali

Jalan Sulawesi - Denpasar’s textile heaven selling Balinese fabrics such as cotton, Batik, silk and even delicate lace fabric.

Wardani Textiles - this textile temple has more than thousands of fabrics to choose from amongst silk, cottons, linen  and some traditional fabrics such as ikat, sarongs and sashes.

6. Not going on holiday yet?

You can also use your own surroundings as inspiration for your interior. Here are some of our favourite New Zealand home designers:

https://sundayhomestore.co.nz/

https://folklorestore.co.nz/

https://annabelles.nz/

https://www.moodstore.co.nz/

Discover more about our Club Med offers to travel to these destinations here.

Life in Snowy Hokkaido: Singaporean Mama Merlin Chelliah

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merlin chelliah mama club med

Home away from home in Hokkaido, we hear about this mama’s love for Japan’s beautiful food, people and four seasons

Merlin Chelliah, GM of Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido is a Singaporean mama to 6-year-old Noah. She lives with her son and husband in Hokkaido. We catch up with Merlin to hear about life in the snow and how she juggles motherhood and her career as a woman in authority.

Merlin Chelliah club med hokkaido

Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?

I currently serve as General Manager at Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, managing the resort and its 341 rooms, sprawled across 145 hectares of land on Tomamu Mountain. Apart from overseeing the day to day operations of the resort, I’m often seen cooking curries from Singapore and Sri Lanka, preparing Dorayaki on Japanese-themed days, and even hosting and dancing on stage for guests’ nightly entertainment. I have a total of 26 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Prior to my stint at Club Med (where I’ve worked for the last 15 years), I was with Westin Singapore as Guest Relations Manager and worked my way up from my first job as luggage coordinator, to concierge, then Resident Manager in Westin Stamford Crest.

What brought you to Hokkaido? How long have you been living overseas?

Having the opportunity to manage the second Club Med in Japan was truly a dream come true for me. First of all, I love the country, the culture and the people; and to top it all off, it presented me with the biggest move in my career to date – how could I say no?! I’ve been away for 15 years now, and have travelled to more than 11 countries around the world since.

club med tomamu hokkaido

What do you like best about living in Hokkaido/Japan?

It’s difficult to pin down any one reason! The food is amazing – the freshness and complexity of flavours is unmatched anywhere else. The culture is also incredible – everywhere you go, people are friendly, polite and considerate. I’m also a big fan of the vast natural landscapes that Hokkaido has to offer.

Did you give birth to your child in Japan?

I actually gave birth to Noah in Singapore, which was great because I got to be surrounded by my family and close friends, who were my pillars of strength throughout the entire experience.

Can you talk us through your career pre- and post-baby?

The biggest difference for me was the change in my management style. Post-baby, I was more heedful, more gentle in my mannerisms, less directive and more motivational in the way I led my teams.

club med tomamu hokkaido merlin chelliah

How have you found holding a position of authority as a woman in general, but also in relation to being in Japan?

It’s natural that some people might still hold on to preconceived gender stereotypes (plus I’m quite petite in size, so it doesn’t help), but as long as you keep a positive mindset and focus on delivering your best work, your guests won’t see gender come to play, but they will see the effort that goes into making their holiday experience as wonderful as it is.

Just remember to never take any negative comments personally, but as an opportunity to grow and better yourself.

Any tips on balancing the juggling act as a mum and in a career?

At first it did take a bit of adjusting, but I think it’s about prioritising your responsibilities. As much as I love the work I do, my family is incredibly important to me, and I would never compromise spending time with them. I’ve also learnt that it’s not just about the quantity of time, but the quality of time you spend with them. So even if it’s small things, like reading with Noah, or just talking to him about his day, it really makes a difference because he knows I’m not just physically present, but that I’m emotionally there for him as well, even when the days get busy.

asahiyama zoo hokkaido

What are your favourite places in Hokkaido that you would recommend to parents traveling with kids?

  • Sapporo Snow Festival

    1. Asahiyama Zoo

    2. Bear Mountain

    3. Horse-back Riding

    4. Hokkaido Farm Activities

    5. Shintoku Soba Hall – a wonderful restaurant that allows guests to try their hand at making authentic soba noodles using locally-produced soba flour from Shintoku – and they get to enjoy it right after with the help of professional chefs!

But many of these can be done as excursions with Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, so maybe Club Med should be number one!

What do you find is the hardest part of being a mother living in a foreign country?

Parenting away from home can sometimes be a challenge, as you’re constantly having to adapt to changing variables, like different lifestyles, environments and cultures – and of course, living in Japan, language differences can also be a barrier at times. But I always try to keep a positive mindset, find a routine that works best for my family and just try to ensure an easy transition for us all.

club med kani maldives resort water

What is your favourite holiday destination as a family?

A couple of destinations immediately come to mind – the first is of course, Singapore, because home is where the heart is. The second is Kani, Maldives – a perfect amalgamation of rustic and modern lifestyles that offers peace and serenity unmatched anywhere else.

What languages does your son speak? How have you managed to raise a multilingual child – any tips for other parents?

Noah can speak English, Japanese and French. My advice would be to not force your children to learn something they don’t want to, because if the interest isn’t there, it’s truly an uphill battle. Help them find something they’re genuinely interested in, help nurture that passion, and fluency and proficiency will come naturally after.

What mementos/local goodies do you always bring back from Singapore when you visit?

Laksa sauce kits, frozen Prata and Chicken Rice paste!

What’s the one thing you would miss about Hokkaido if you moved away?

The people, the food and the beautiful four seasons – without a doubt.

nteresting in hearing more? Discover more information about Club Med Tomamu Hokkaido, Japan here.

Article originally posted on

SassyMagSG.com

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Five things you didn't know about Mauritius

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Recently visiting Mauritius, our Design & Content Specialist at Club Med Australia, Marine Raynard shared a bit more about her discovery of the incredible Mauritian culture. This article was written by Marine Raynard and reposted from The Frenchie Escapes' original story. (@thefrenchieescapes). Note: All images below are courtesy of Marine Raynard, and have been shared with permission. For more information about Club Med in Mauritius, discover our two resorts here. 

Five things you didn't know about Mauritius

A tropical paradise located in the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar and the French Island La Reunion, Mauritius is a destination on the rise and has a lot to offer if you are looking to relax, explore diverse landscapes from lush nature to incredible blue waters and discover its amazing culture.

Going from North to South of the island will take only an hour and fifteen minutes but don’t mistake Mauritius’ tiny scale for not a lot to discover and do! With an incredible mix of culture, many different places to discover and even micro-climates following one region to another, it will surely surprise you as it did surprise me on my recent trip!

 Eureka House near Black River, Mauritius. 

Eureka House near Black River, Mauritius.

Here are five things which you might not know about Mauritius and which I hope will make you want to discover this beautiful place.

 Road near the Seven Coloured Earth, Mauritius,

Road near the Seven Coloured Earth, Mauritius

1. Mauritius has an incredible mix of cultures

I went to Mauritius when I was actually 2 years old but when I came back I didn’t realise how heavily French-influenced the island is. And not only! Mauritius proudly mix all of the cultures which have been present through its history from the early times to colonisation to the independence 50 years ago. You’ll discover the incredible Creole culture, full of flavours and colours, mixing both French and English cultures. For a French-speaking person, it’s quite funny to try to understand Creole language but it’s pretty hard! Mauritian kids have to learn French and English as a first-language and then can choose a third-language of their choice, often being Mauritian Creole.

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Another culture very heavily influenced in Mauritius is the Indian culture. Indo-Mauritians actually make up to 60% of the population which you can imagine is huge! You’ll see many Hindou temples around Mauritius and delicious Indian food as well. More than Hinduism, there are also Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Baha’is… An amazing melting pot of culture, all living in peace!

2.  It’s a small island but with so much to see

Mauritius has an area of only 2,040m2 – which makes it a whopping 3,795 times smaller than Australia! But with more than a million people living there and many many places to discover, there’s a lot to see on this tiny island!

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 The seven coloured earth, Mauritius

The seven coloured earth, Mauritius

Some famous places are Black River Gorges National Park with a stunning waterfall, the seven coloured earth, Rhum Distilleries to discover, Port-Louis for a day, L’Ile aux Cerf for the most incredible blue bay, Flic-en-Flac for some beach time, Grande Baie for shopping, Majestic Le Morne Brabant which you can hike… So much to discover!

 Delicious Chamarel Rhum in Mauritius. 

Delicious Chamarel Rhum in Mauritius.

 Me in Club Med Albion, Mauritius 

Enjoying Club Med La Plantation d'Albion, Mauritius

3. Tourism and Travel is the first industry among others

Being such a small island with no natural exploitable resources, Mauritius has managed to be a champion in many industries over the years. And tourism is now one of the biggest! Take anyone who’s been in Mauritius and they will tell you about the incredible Mauritian hospitality, how nice and helpful people are and all of the incredible places you can stay in! Mauritius is good to explore but also really nice to relax.

Other significant industries in Mauritius are textiles, agriculture with sugar cane (and delicious Rhum) and more and more Information Technology Services.

 Incredible sunset over the Zen Pool in Club Med Albion. 

Incredible sunset over the Zen Pool in Club Med La Plantation D'Albion, Mauritius

4. Mauritius has over 27 microclimates!

When talking with Mauritians during my trip, they explained to me how driving from region to region, we could experience very different climates and temperatures. Quite crazy for such a small island! I totally noticed it when we went from the west to the north, where it barely rained during our few days.

 Blue water and ski in Club Med La Pointe aux Cannoniers, Mauritius

Blue water and Waterski jetty in Club Med La Pointe aux Cannoniers, Mauritius

According to Mauritius Inside Out, there’s that much to know about the local weather as there is:

  • a tropical climate in summer

  • a subtropical climate in winter

  • a maritime climate throughout the year

  • a cyclone season

  • a rainy season

  • southeast trade winds from March to November

There are definitely ways to enjoy a sunny holiday in Mauritius but it could rain from time to time! Again according to Mauritius Inside Out, October is the best month to visit.

 Beautiful lush green in Mauritius

Beautiful lush green in Mauritius

5. The late Dodo bird is a national symbol

Fun fact, when I went to Mauritius for the first time as a 2-year old I was absolutely obsessed with the story of the Dodo bird. But the history on how the Dodo bird disappeared is quite sad actually.  The Dodo bird was a beautiful big bird (23 kgs) which couldn’t fly having any predators in over 4 million years. When the Arabs arrived as the first people to set foot in Mauritius and Portuguese as well in 1505, Mauritius was a big destination in the spice trade and the Dodo bird was hunted for its meat.

 The Dodo of Mauritius - it's about that big!

The Dodo of Mauritius – it’s about that big!

And later as the Dutch colons arrived, they brought other species with them: rats, monkeys, and pigs – which all ate the egg of the Dodo bird. Unfortunately, the Dodo bird was laying only one egg per year so its population quickly diminished and the last was seen in 1681.

However, the Dodo bird proudly remains in Mauritius’ culture as a symbol in the coat of arms of Mauritius and in pretty much everything that you’ll see in Mauritius.

 Myself in Club Med Albion, Mauritius. 

Enjoying sunset at the Zen Pool in Club Med La Plantation D'Albion, Mauritius.

Overall Mauritius is a great destination to explore and discover more about its history. I really enjoyed discovering different landscapes, tasting delicious Mauritius food and Rhum, and talking with the local. I must say thanks to my work with Club Med for sending me there, discovering both beautiful Club Med La Plantation D'Albion and La Pointe aux Canonniers and re-discovering the Mauritian Culture all over again!

#MeetOurG.Os - Lauren at Club Med Sahoro

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The heart of Club Med is in happiness, and part of that comes from the incredible people we bring together from around the world. The job of the G.O. was invented by Club Med 60 years ago, and it is still one of the best jobs in the world. G.Os travel around the world, meeting new people and injecting happiness into your holiday. They are, in short, what makes a Club Med holiday unforgettable.To get to know our Aussie G.O.s, we asked Lauren, Australian G.O at Club Med Sahoro, for the lowdown on being a G.O. at Club Med as well as his insider tips for a holiday to Japan.

#1: How long have you been a member of the Club Med family?

"5 months so far. I have just finished my first snow season with club med in Sahoro resort and will be starting my next season in Phuket."

#2: What makes Club Med Sahoro such a great place to holiday?

"As it is an all-inclusive resort, everything at the resort is made so easy from the bar to the mini club and all the resorts around the world are conveniently placed to enjoy each season. There are so many activities within the resort you really don't even need to leave and always guaranteed fun."

#3: What’s your one “insider’s tip” for someone visiting Club Med Sahoro?

"Stay at least 10 days. 1 week isn't enough to enjoy every activity. Also, participate in every activity! Even if you don't know how to do something, just try. It's always fun and always a good opportunity to meet new people."

#4: What is your favourite moment of the day?

"My favourite part of the day is greeting new families and kids. I love giving that first happy fun welcome to introduce club med and show what we are about."

#5: What is your favourite way to spend a day off in Japan?

"In Sahoro my favourite part was skiing on the slopes and then relaxing in the Japanese onsen and outdoor hot tub."

#6: What’s your favourite thing about working at Club Med?

"My favourite thing about club med is the feeling of always being a part of a family with the people that I work with and also with the guests. Coming from a close family myself, I never have the feeling of being homesick because there was either a GO that reminded me of my sisters or brother or guests that can relate to my mum and dad."

Discover Club Med Sahoro in the video below!

Want to discover our Facebook Snow Squad Group? Join us here!

12 Travel Tips For Your Next Holiday

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While we all know there’s nothing better than being on holiday, but sometimes, getting ready to head overseas can be a little stressful! We’ve put together a list of our most important tips to get ahead on your next holiday…

1. Book your flights – early!

You’ll get the best price on your flights if you book them in advance, with savings that can often add up very quickly. Usually, you can book your trip up to 10 months out from departure – plus, if you book with accommodation you often get the best rate on flights available.

If you have your eye on flights and want to know when to buy, Hopper is the perfect tool! Plug in your travel dates and destinations, and the app will notify you whether you should buy now or wait.

2. Best time to go on holiday

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Really, it depends what you’re looking for:

  • For those looking to escape the crowds, avoid school holiday periods, especially the Christmas break! Airports and popular destinations can get extremely busy, and prices often skyrocket during this period.

  • To ski, head to the Northern Hemisphere in January to March for the best snow, or April for some incredible spring skiing.

  • If you’d prefer to avoid the wet season in tropical Asia, travel to Thailand between December and April, and to Malaysia and Indonesia between May and October.

  • Check the national holidays of the country you’re visiting before you book to make sure everything will be open. Keep an eye out for Chinese New Year, Bastille Day, Easter and other similar holidays.

 3. Planning your trip

  • Be sure to visit TripAdvisor before choosing your accommodation or tours, to read peer reviews or have your questions answered.

  • Google Trips is an app that will keep track of your bookings as you make them. No need to trawl through your emails! Too easy.

  • Have a look online for any 360 videos to get the full holiday experience, or use Google Street View to get a virtual tour of the destination.

4. Check your passport!

Probably the most important point on this list! It is absolutely essential that you make sure you have at least six months on your passport before leaving the country, otherwise your dream holiday may become just that – a dream. Acquiring a passport last minute is a stressful process, and can’t always promise results, so check your validity well before you jet off!

While we’re on this topic, make sure to look up visa requirements for the country you’re heading to. Australians can travel visa-free to plenty of countries, but it’s always better to triple check.

5. Where to exchange your money

  • Exchange some money before you go. While the rates may not be as promising, the language barrier overseas may make it difficult to exchange currency.

  • Check with your bank if you can get a travel card, or go to the local post office and grab one. It’s much easier than paying by credit card, plus you don’t pay currency conversion fees.

  • Don’t exchange money at the airport, and especially not after you clear security. Kiosks at international airports have notoriously poor exchange rates.

  • Be sure to notify your bank that you’re overseas, to avoid having issues with your card. Banks like ING allow you to notify them of travel in their online banking app.

6. How to pack

Forget folding! To save as much space as possible, roll all of your clothing inside your suitcase. Also, keep your luggage as light as possible to make sure your transit is as easy as possible- if in doubt, leave it out!.

7. Learn some basic phrases

Consider learning some basic language skills of the country you’re visiting as a courtesy to those you’re speaking to. Learn phrases such as “excuse me,” “may I please have…” and “no, thank you.” If you have any serious allergies, learn to articulate these too!

Apps like Duolingo are great to give you a rundown of the basics, and Google Translate will always come in handy while overseas.

8. Ditch the camera

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Let’s be honest: in today’s world, your smartphone is more than adequate to chronicle your travels. While your DSLR can take some incredible shots, you’ll also have to lug it around, including extra batteries for when it inevitably runs out of charge. If you want to travel light, invest in some add-ons for your smartphone to boost the quality of your images.

9. Pack some earplugs, or noise-cancelling headphones!

Whether you’re staying in a lavish resort or a hostel in the big smoke, you’ll want to bring some earplugs to safeguard your shut-eye. They’re invaluable on flights - especially if you’ve got the screaming child seated behind you! For frequent travellers, consider investing in a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones – Bose’s Quietcomfort series is a favourite amongst travellers.

10. Check if you need vaccinations before you go!

Check what vaccinations you need on Travel Doctor after you book your holiday. Some vaccines can take up to eight weeks to come into full effect, so get organised early. Plus, in many resorts like Club Med Bali, children require vaccination certificates for the Kids Clubs, so make sure you bring those along.

11. Travel insurance is essential

Travel insurance is an absolute must-have when travelling abroad, especially with children or on a ski holiday. Insurance can cover medical emergencies, travel costs incurred from some cancellations and will compensate you if your belongings go missing. Be sure to document your claim fully to make sure you get compensated.

Again, some holiday packages (including Club Med) offer travel insurance in the package – make sure to check before spending extra!

12. Travelling with kids?

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Travelling with young children is a different game all together. Consider these tips before you jet off:

  • Pre-order children’s meals on-board your flight.

  • The air pressure changes inside a plane’s cabin is more intense for young children. Make sure you bring something for the little ones to suck on to alleviate the pain.

  • Travel somewhere with a Kids Club. Not only will they have a ball, but you’ll get a break!

Discover more about Club Med all inclusive holidays by clicking here.

3 Family Adventures To Try During Your Next Holidays

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Choosing the perfect family holiday destination can be a challenge. It can be hard to please everyone...but thankfully, we've found three new adventures that will satisfy everyone, from kids to parents, tan-addicts to snow enthusiasts! From the wild acrobat to the dreamy star-gazer, here are 3 awesome family holidays to try now.

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#1: Wander through a winter wonderland

Strap on snowshoes at Club Med Peisey Vallandry and take a family stroll through sparkling forests, adorned with ice crystals and fresh trails of the softest powder. Tread quietly and watch for rabbit footprints in the snow, and keep the camera poised for deer, foxes and majestic eagles overhead!

Two women skiing at Club Med

#2: Take off on the adrenalin-fuelled flying trapeze

It is great to try something completely new - like trapeze and bungee., A TripAdvisor Traveller @ Club Med Punta Cana, 6.5.16

Up, up and away! The Flying Trapeze Academy allows beginners and advanced acrobats to hone their skills in safety. Specialized staff in 16 Club Med Resorts make this the highlight of your family’s vacation - and not just for your children, but also for you!

Happy girl doing trapeze for the first time!

#3: Enjoy the Kids Snow Garden

Watch with pride as your children conquer the obstacle course in Club Med Pragelato Vialattea’s Snow Garden. Little ones learn to skirt around figurines, duck under hoops and use the ski tow without mum or dad’s help. It’s never too early to book your end-of-year holiday.

Kids in the snow garden with Club Med GOs

#TheBestPart: at Club Med it's all included

All those new activities are part of Club Med family holiday packages, along with your transfers, meals, drinks and much more!

Looking for more family holiday inspiration? Click here!