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Watermark Beach Resort

Watermark Beach Resort

Canada, ROAM By July 8, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

The first thing my kids do when checking into a new hotel (after saying hello to everyone in the lobby, fighting over who presses the inside button in the elevator and insisting on opening the door themselves) is jump on the beds. We not only do we have lift-off, but we have 150% approval for Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia.
Amenities range from fully equipped gourmet kitchens (the grocery and liquor stores are right next door) and washer and dryer in the suites, to poolside grilling stations for easy dinners (if you can pass up the restaurant.)
This Okanagan lakefront resort offers huge tapas plates in the Watermark Restaurant, wine tastings in the lobby, a waterslide in the outdoor pool, two hot tubs, yoga and pilates classes and the Illumination Spa and Salon.

Lake View at Watermark ResortIf the kids tire of the waterslide (funny joke), the lake is adjacent to the property and features a three-sided dock to keep little ones safe yet allows the older ones to practice their cannonball form in deeper water. The Osoyoos Yacht Club is a short walk down the beach and we were able to hitch a catamaran ride and then test our salmon fishing skills, which were excellent incidentally. (Even though it was a banner year for salmon and the government actually increased the limits…).

When the boys and I were by the pool, we ordered to-die-for grilled cheese and homemade mac and cheese for lunch. I actually managed to tear them away from the waterslide for 6 minutes in order to eat!

Watermark Resort Patio Dinner For dinner, the family went to Watermark’s tapas-style restaurant run by terroir-inspired Chef Adair Scott. It also boasts it’s own wine label and to-die-for views.
They have made the small kitchen into an advantage by creating grilled dishes such as arctic char, chicken confit, local steaks and tapas-style fare (spicy prawns, tenderloin carpaccio or quinoa cauliflower salad, anyone?) presented artfully and cooked skillfully.

Watermark FoodIt really shouldn’t be called tapas. The dishes are huge – and you will want to finish it all. Much of the organic produce comes from Covert Farms, and the herbs are all grown a few feet away in the resort’s garden.

Watermark Resort WeddingMy son was transfixed one day watching a wedding underneath our balcony and it was all I could do not to ‘shhh’ loudly when he asked questions about the ceremony. There are learning opportunities even while on a beach vacation!

Rattlesnake CanyonHome Hardware OsoyoosWhile in Osoyoos we made many a kid-friendly excursion, including the Miniature Train Museum and Rattlesnake Canyon Amusement Park – you can see our Osoyoos Top 10 list HERE). But one of the best ‘excursions’? Home Hardware. Just up the street from Watermark is an amusement park in itself. You will want to set aside about an hour. We picked up swim goggles, a cooler for the 75 pounds of salmon we were bringing home and garden décor.


From now on, Osoyoos will be on my summer hitlist – not only for the fresh salmon and organic fruit, but as an excuse to make memories with my family at Watermark Beach Resort.

Disclosure: Watermark Beach Resort has been awarded the Tripadvisor Hall of Fame for the past five years. We were hosted for a weekend and loved it so much we stayed an extra night. All opinions are my own.


Mandarin Oriental Elbow Beach Resort Bermuda

International, ROAM By January 30, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I’m on a plane and a Humphrey Bogart film is playing on the seat next to me.  I think of the photos on the wall of the Mandarin Oriental Elbow Beach Resort Bermuda and smile.  To be alive in those days.  To have been at the 1925 party with the hair and dresses on the patio.

And I see the property on a stunning November day with the turquoise water calling me to get down to the beach.  After a grueling walk (don’t wear heels) I set foot on the famous Bermudian ‘pink’ sand and looked both ways aver the half mile of private beach.  Somehow as a mom, happiness came and went before the guilt set in and I trundled up to met the director of Communications, Sophie Dier.  (Not to worry – working with the therapist on that.  Carry on feeling awesome).

Elbow Beach LibraryA tour of the property revealed that there is a zen-like mixture of feminine and masculine.  The warm tones and high tech features of the library open up to well groomed bougainvillea and soft sand.  Rooms are opulent and uncluttered as well as larger than the original hotel’s suites.  Recently altered into a more exclusive and intimate resort, the rooms have been renovated with modern luxuries.  Suites boast sliding ‘doors that separate the pullout Great room from the master bedroom and large walk-in closets would make the biggest shopaholic jealous.  Not that I look there first or anything.  The big shocker for me was the weather.  Bermuda is so far north that I expected it to be cool.  But no.  Even in November, bikini-clad women with perfect abs lay on the beach.

Elbow Beach RoomFor kids there are some extraordinary programs.  The Clubhouse on the property provides games, crafts, tech and childcare for kids ages 6-12.  I was uber-excited about the Kids Adventure Camp, which embraces the unique character of Bermuda and sends kids off-property to ‘study and explore various characteristics’ of the island.  One day they might snorkel and find indiginous fish and another they might visit local caves.  If you’re a diver you will be thrilled that the kids’ adventure club can certify your prodigy (while you dive the awesome shipwrecks around Bermuda yourself)!  The resort (owned by Mandarin Oriental) also offers fab rates for family vacation packages (including aquarium passes and babysitting hours).

Many guests would opt not to leave the premises, so there are many choices of restaurant.  Meeting the chef at The Lido I was impressed – not only for his vegetarian risotto and bolognaise on my pasta, but that, after 27 years (the day he was married), he finally shaved his famous mustache in support of the Mandarin Oriental’s Movember efforts (Note the MO tie-in).  The other eateries include Mickey’s (seafood), Blue Point (light bites), Sea Breeze (tapas/sushi) and the Deep Lounge and Nightclub.

Spa Elbow BeachAnd then there was the spa.  All I can say is – private room.  Private locker, WC, bath, shower, table and safe.  Not that I used it.  I was too relaxed to think anyone would steal anything.  I did a 2 hour Mandarin Oriental Signature Spa treatment, where the therapist determines what you ‘need’ and has the skill and talent to tailor your service as required.  The beginning and end of treatment are bookended by a chime and by the end I was no longer fluish and sniffly.  I was wrapped, scrubbed, smeared in thick creams and left the building with soft skin and mellow muscles.  (Now I wasn’t stumbling because of my stilettos).

Looking at photographs on the walls, I wish that college weeks would come back.  Roaring ‘20s parties and ‘60’s honeymoons fit for kings. (My parents did that).  Bermuda is a re-discovered oasis only 2(ish) hours from all of the east coast of the Atlantic, and is gaining serious tourist traction.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the hunks in Bermuda shorts, ties and knee socks that frequent the bars of Hamilton after a busy day of finance.

Sandproof snacks for the beach

Healthy Sandproof Snack Ideas for the Beach

EAT, snacks By July 26, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

We’ve all been there.  Our intentions were amazing, we remembered the ice packs, lotion and pail.  And then the snacks got ‘invaded’ by sand. Or the sandwiches got soggy.  Yuck.  Here are a few of our sand and sog-proof healthy snack ideas to help keep the kids happy and full while they enjoy the beach.  We like things that don’t require a plate and cutlery – ‘hand snacks’. Here are our top Sandproof Healthy Snack Ideas for the Beach.

1.  Hummus with carrot sticks, pita chips
2.  Peanut butter and celery (or apples)
3.  Make your own trail mix: our favorites include almonds, raisins, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, Goldfish crackers, dry cereal
4.  Veggie & fruit kabobs-skewer some cucumber, broccoli with strawberries, peach slices, etc.
5.  Our homemade granola bars
6.  Yogurt tubes
7.  Frozen grapes – a great way to ward off dehydration
8.  Popcorn
9.  Burritos: stuff your favorite tortillas with beans (canned or homemade) add some salsa, cheese, and maybe some scrambled eggs
10.  Cheese cubes
11.  Dried edamame
12.  Hard boiled eggs
13.  Homemade muffins
14.  Hot Corn on the Cob: Cut off one end (husks still on) and microwave for 4 minutes on high.  Wrap in tinfoil.15.  Quinoa Turkey Meatballs
16.  Pre-cut carrot sticks
17.  Frozen jumbo shrimp and a bottle of seafood cocktail for dipping
18.  Frozen bottles of water to keep everything cold – drink as they thaw
19.  Mini-bagel sandwiches so they don’t get soggy
20.  Pretzels!


Beat the Heat

LIVE, rest By June 5, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Severe heat can inhibit the safety of babies and children.  With global temperatures on a slow march upwards, heat waves such as this are unfortunately likely to become more frequent than their previous once-in-a-lifetime occurence. Some people adore the heat, but babies and children as well as pets and elderly relatives are vulnerable to heat strokes, dehydration and other serious heat-related ailments. Here are some tips on surviving the heat:

  1. Never, EVER, leave a baby, child or pet in a parked car during hot weather. The temperature inside a parked car can very quickly rise to extreme levels. Children and pets can become extremely over-heated and some have even died when left in a hot car. This tip is therefore very important.
  2. Make sure babies, children and pets have plenty of water to drink. Heat produces sweat which causes the body to lose vital water. It is very important to replenish the body with water in order to prevent dehydration, which can be very serious.
  3. Keep babies, children and pets where it is coolest. Find the coolest room in the house, most likely the basement, and spend as much time there as possible. Only go outside unless you are doing water-related activities or if your house gets so hot, it’s cooler in the shade outside. Restrict outdoor exercise, including walking dogs, to cooler evenings. Avoiding the heat is a great reason to spend the afternoon at the air-conditioned library.
  4. Dress appropriately. Keep babies and children in lightweight, loose fitting clothing. Is your toddler not a fan of clothing? Well, this is a good time to let him get away with his preference for nakedness!
  5. Hats and sunscreen. If you are outside in the sun at any time, make sure babies, children and yourself have hats and waterproof, high-SPF sunscreen on. Make sure to re-apply it when necessary. If baby is constantly taking his hat off, find a hat that has a Velcro strap that goes under his chin.
  6. Fans and air conditioners. These are of course, summer-heat standbys. Here’s a good tip: put a bowl of ice in front of a fan. The fan will blow the cooler air around the ice towards you!
  7. Don’t leave a baby or child to nap in direct sunlight. That tip speaks for itself.
  8. Utilize water. Cold showers and baths, pools and natural bodies of clean water are of course great. But here’s another tip: fill up a bucket with very cold water and sit with your feet in it. As your blood circulates through your body, it will cool down in your feet and circulate cooler blood throughout your body. I tried this today and it helped a great deal. Just make sure there are no electronics that can fall into it to avoid electrocution.
  9. Keep cool at night. Have the whole family sleep in the basement if possible. Make sure babies and children are in light clothing, if clothing is necessary, and that they only have a sheet to cover them, if necessary. Open windows, if safe, to ensure plenty of circulation of the slightly-cooler night air. A cold shower or bath before bed can also help.
  10. Check in on elderly relatives. If elderly relatives live in hot areas, make sure to check with them that they have everything they need to beat the heat. The elderly are very vulnerable to overheating. Sadly, sometimes, it even causes death.
  11. Be careful of worsening air quality. Heat causes air quality to diminish. Be aware of this and make sure people with respiratory problems, including kids with asthma, are looked after. Try staying inside where the air is a little better.
  12. Indulge your children in frozen treats. If it’s very hot, the cooling effect of frozen treats can be more important than their sugar content. If you’d prefer a healthy alternative, pick up a popsicle mold and make fruit juice popsicles by filling the mold with fruit juice.

Have you got a tip? Email us at (subject: Beat the Heat) with your name, city and tip and we will add your tip to this page!

Here are some signs of overheating to look out for:
*rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
*weakness, dizziness, or fainting
*more tiredness than usual
*confusion or disorientation

If you see these signs in someone help them cool down by removing clothing, having them drink cool (but not ice cold) water, bathing them with cool water and moving them to a cooler area. If they appear seriously listless or disoriented, take them to the emergency room or call 911.

The above signs to watch out for were taken from the Toronto Public Health’s brochure on beating the heat. This brochure also has tips similar to some of the ones above. You can view this brochure here:

For more information about the health effects of extreme heat call
Canadian Red Cross Heat Information Line 416-480-2615

-Danica Longair


Swim Zip

LIVE, play By May 18, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Now that you’ve got your beach activities picked, bags packed and sunscreen bought, you need a couple of these.  We don’t want to be preachy, but we’re going to be preachy.  Protect your kids from the sun.  Fact: Even 1 blistering sunburn may double the risk of melanoma.  The damage the occurs in childhood may not develop until middle age.  Damn.  Founder Betsy Johnson was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 26 and made it her mission to protect other children.  (90% of all sun exposure happens before 18 years old).  She turned her passion for fashion, kids, health and function into Swim Zip.  With 99% UVA and UVB protection, these funky suits are the bomb.  My son won’t take his off.

Disclosure: UrbanMommies Media was given a sample for review.

Tips for Watching Fireworks with the Family

Tips for Watching Fireworks with the Family

LIVE, play By July 30, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

Summer may be over but Halloween is just around the corner! Here are some tips for enjoying fireworks with the family – including your kids and babies:

1. Bring ear plugs or leave babies, very young ones and other easily frightened children, with a sitter. The noise of the fireworks can be very scary for little ones and you want to avoid causing them to develop an early fear of fireworks. Ear plugs or head phones should do the trick (if they keep them on).

2. Bring a blanket, water, sunscreen, snacks and activities if you’re staking out a spot early. There are often summer treats at fireworks events. It’s OK to have a treat but make sure the kids have enough nutrition too.

3. Be aware of who is around you. Some fireworks events have a history of attracting a few rowdy folks. That shouldn’t deter you from taking your family, but just keep one eye on who is around you and if you’re concerned about someone’s behaviour, don’t hesitate to find a different spot before something happens near your little ones. Alternatively, you can alert an event organizer or event security if you are concerned about someone’s behaviour.

4. Take your garbage with you. Before it gets dark, round up all of your garbage and make sure to dispose of it properly. It’s important to help keep our beaches and parks clean for other families who will visit them the next day.

5. Enjoy the fireworks! They are an awe-inspiring feat of chemistry and artistry! You can use the time to teach your kids what science can do and feel the magic of the moment at the same time.

-Danica Longair