Late last year, my husband Craig and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I know, it’s a huge feat by today’s standards, and we’ve jumped a few hurdles and scaled a few mountains over the years to make it thus far.
It’s always been a dream of ours to go to the Maldives or Bora Bora to stay in one of those dreamy overwater bungalows. We were aiming for our 10th anniversary, but life managed to get in the way as it does, so we had to wait a little longer to tick this one off the bucket list. We probably needed the extra 15 years to save up the $ anyway (no kidding!!).
After 24 hours travelling via three planes and a speedboat, we finally arrive at the Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa in Machchafushi, one of some 1200 islands in the Maldives. Only 200 are inhabited by Maldivians with resorts occupying about another 100 islands.
As we approached the resort, we saw the now-familiar overwater bungalows (from our frequent visits to the website) dotting the postcard-perfect turquoise lagoon around the island. On first glance some of the bungalows and the boardwalk connecting them looked a little grey and tired; weathered from the elements (think: those ladies of a certain age who’ve spent a lifetime sunbathing on Bondi Beach).
I shot Craig a nervous glance wondering whether the $1400/night price tag was going to be worth it, but our fears were soon allayed when we entered our bungalow. I’ll let the pictures tell the story, but as you can see it truly is a tropical paradise.
Our ‘routine’ over the next seven days consisted of late morning rises, eating and drinking (included in the all-inclusive package), snorkelling and swimming in the lagoon abundant with colourful coral and even more colourful fish, a daily spa treatment (again a perk of the package), more eating and drinking (are frozen margaritas a food group?), and watching the world go by from our deck beds perched over the turquoise veil.
It was heaven, only with cocktails!
What made it so divine, was not the luxury or the indulgence (although it didn’t hurt), it was the simplicity – enjoying the simple pleasures in life.
A sleep-in, taking time to eat and enjoy your food, spending hours with your hubby beside you on the deck talking (or not talking), watching the sky change from pink to blue to pink to midnight blue, listening to nothing except the sound of water lapping against the bungalow piers, tuning out of technology (we refused to turn on the TV and limited mobile use to contacting our daughter and the occasional FB postcard), and instead tuning into our bodies, minds and spirits.
It was heaven, only with cocktails!
I know it seems much easier to connect with yourself and your beloved or commune with nature when you are off the clock and away from your daily responsibilities, but it really shouldn’t be.
All of the simple pleasures we enjoyed could be replicated with a little mindfulness and creativity:
- Keep the TV (and any devices) off a night or two a week – the silence creates space for conversation and invites stillness
- Plan your own dinner date at home (with or without the kids), cook something special together and take the time to savour the food and the company
- Spend time with your special someone/s sitting on the front porch or in the backyard and talk (or don’t talk). You can simply watch the world go by – cloud, bird and insect watching are fascinating!
- Have a Sunday (or Monday) sleep-in (and for extra atmos play a soothing water lapping video on Youtube – here’s one with 8 hours of audio and video!)
- Concoct a frozen margarita or a virgin one and sip slowly while relaxing in your pool or bath, or lounging on your deck chair, your hammock or your sofa (TV off). I’ve certainly done this one a couple of times since returning home.
- Give your bedroom the resort treatment
- Firstly, put a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door (if you want some solo time or couple time away from the kiddies)
- Pick some fresh hibiscus or frangipani flowers or whatever flowers or ferns you have in the garden and dress up your freshly made bed
- If you want to really stretch yourself make a towel animal – here’s a gorgeous peacock to try
- Light (unscented) candles and diffuse aromatherapy oils – the oils will not only smell great, but they will also offer some therapeutic benefits – a plus over the scented candles which are mostly synthetic fragrances.
- For relaxation use Lavender, Ylang-Ylang, Bergamot, Chamomile and Rose
- For happiness try Lavender, Frankincense, Wild Orange, Peppermint, Bergamot, Sandalwood
- For romance use Black Pepper oil, Geranium, Jasmine, Patchouli and Rosewood
- Play some soothing sounds or relaxing music (Youtube always has a great range of free meditative music)
- Enjoy a warm bath with magnesium salts and a few drops of essential oils or have a shower and allow the water to wash over you visualising all the tension and worries of the day falling away
- Pat yourself dry and smother yourself with coconut oil
- Dress in a beautiful nightie (or pjs) or a comfy robe and some slippers
- Now your ‘resort’ room is ready for a solo night of reading your favourite author, or a romantic date night with your beloved, or the pure pleasure of an early night’s sleep.
- Add a cup of chamomile tea or a glass of bubbly, strawberries and a few squares of salted caramel dark chocolate for extra indulgence!
That should get your started and I’m sure you can think of many more creative ideas to find the simple pleasures in your own life.
The thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter where you are on earth, you have the ability to create your own little piece of heaven – with or without the cocktails!
*NB: Frozen Margarita enhanced on main photo but not the view – oops I drank too much! 😉