Breezes Bahamas

August 27th, 2018

Have been to Bahamas 3 times now and I must say that this hotel was my least favourite. Bahamas is beautiful and it was a nice beach but the hotel itself is very dated and needs a renovation and the rooms are tiny and the views are not great in most rooms and staff wasn’t the friendliest except at the jewellery store, the lady that dealt with us there was so nice and made our experience all that much better plus we left with a few lovely diamond pieces that we loved. The food was ok at the buffet, but the restaurants were better.

To start I have a very bad back and hurt my shoulder in a car accident and deal with a lot of pain, so we went to relax and get some sun, enjoy the water and food, and do a bit of shopping.

Upon arrival, we had to wait for our room and it took a while so we sat in the lobby and just tried to relax for a bit. We finally got our room, got changed and proceeded to the beach.

The worse thing though that was hard to get over was the overwhelming smell when you were on the beach, it was really horrible and that put quite a damper on our vacation as we love the beach but hated the smell.

The rooms were also not up to par, small, and dated and dreary and in need of a serious makeover.

The hotel is not that big and the stage is right next to the lobby and although the nightly entertainment was good, the location was not as people were constantly coming and going.

The pool was ok, nothing amazing though, and there was not much else in the hotel to do other than play billiards or ping pong. The casino next door was fun though but we do not gamble, so we just went to look around a bit and then came back home.

The staff at Breezes wasn’t very friendly, no one went out of there way to make your stay more enjoyable and it didn’t feel like a welcoming hotel.

We had fun shopping in town though, and we cleaned house as we bought so many things and the jewellery stores were all calling out for us with some awesome deals and we couldn’t help but purchase a few items. Loved the Breitling store and my sister bought a beautiful watch encrusted with diamonds and they gave us many additional extras such as a hat and a few other things but we spent probably about 3 hours in that store alone (most of the time sitting down in their very comfy chairs, so we had to make another trip into town to finish the rest of our shopping. That’s the best thing about this trip was all the shopping we got to do and was mainly the reason why we went there in the first place.

If we go back to Bahamas again I would definitely not stay nor recommend Breezes to anyone until they renovate and get rid of that smell.

 

Hotel Playa Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

April 27th, 2017

This was my 3rd time going back to Playa Cayo Santa Maria, and I’m not the type that really wants to go back to the same hotel twice, but with this hotel I changed my mind. The first two times were so much fun and such a relaxing environment and great staff, and beautiful resort, good food, awesome restaurants, and fun entertainment, with the most pristine beach. The water is turquoise and warm and no waves, which is exactly what I want. Dealing with pain issues, I can not go somewhere where there are waves, so I’m always careful about choosing a hotel with a beach that is smooth as silk and the water is calm and inviting. I want to be able to float on the water and not get hit by a big wave, so this place had everything I was looking for. It may not be 5 star but for many reasons it will be 5 star in my heart. The staff is one of those reasons.

Although I took pictures with my compact camera and wish I could have brought my pro camera with me, but its just to heavy and due to my pain I can’t lift it for long so I didn’t bring it but managed to get some nice images with my canon compact camera. I pray that I get better and one day can bring my pro camera again on our trips, as I missed taking truly beautiful images, but I guess this will do for now.

I began by writing customer service and a lovely human being named Marta Maria Diaz replied and she was so delightful to talk to and she did everything she could to make our week there absolutely amazing. She booked restaurant reservations for us, and planned a birthday party for us and even got the resort to bring in a foam party company as I had never seen or been to one before and was so excited to experience. She went above and beyond her job and from the suite to the restaurants to the reservations and surprises everything was simply magnificent. She even managed to somehow get us invited to the managers brunch which was suppose to be for guests who have been there the most. There is a manager’s dinner as well for those that are returning guests as well. We ate lobster 3 times in our week stay because of Marta. My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture with Marta and I and I promise not to make this mistake again when travelling to another resort.

In fact I’m an avid traveller and I love travelling almost as much as photography so this is why I’m combining both and will blog about each destination and resort that I go to from now on. This way people will get a better idea of what to expect when travelling to the same hotels that I have.

I also find that taking a vacation helps with one’s whole outlook on life. My sister knows how much I have to deal with at home and the pain I go through on a daily basis, and she always encourages me to take a week vacation with her, to get away from everything and to just relax and restore ourselves. It does my body good as well as my spirit as daily life can get to be very demanding and can take its toll, especially when dealing with pain, so hubby takes care of the kiddos and we fly away to somewhere warm and relaxing.

While in Santa Maria, one must take advantage of the offers out there and try out an excursion or two and we enjoyed one so much that we went on it twice. This is the catamaran and dolphin interaction excursion. For roughly $100 you board a beautiful huge catamaran and cruise around Santa Maria and get to experience sea life and even interact with it. We not only went snorkelling (well I didn’t, my sister did, but I watched) and helped feed the fish (as I would throw her some food and she would give it to the fish) while swimming with them and had a marvelous time doing so, but then we went to the dolphin (Delfinario)
http://www.cayosantamaria.info/dolphinarium.html and we actually got to touch and watch the dolphins perform as well as get up close to them as they did tricks for us. It was nothing short of spectacular. Not only were they cute and adorable and beautiful creatures, they were smart and warm and friendly and I could have played with them all day. It was so much fun that we went and booked a private interaction with the dolphins for the following day and we (my sister, as I was in too much pain) got to ride them and swim with them and feed them and talk to them and we kissed them and they kissed us back, and all this was captured for us on video as well as a couple of awesome collages to hang on my wall and make me smile each and every time I look at them.

As for food, buffet is ok, but the restaurants are what were really impressive to me. From Asian to Italian to Seafood and Steak, to the 24 hrs snack bar that had yummy shrimps and delicious margarita pizza. They also have a sweet little spot for all the ice cream you can eat, and at times someone would come and make cotton candy as well. I do wish they had a churro cart though, as I was expecting that from articles I had seen, and I love churros. For breakfast, I would always have crepes as they were so tasty, with a bit of honey and cinnamon on them and a bit of fruit, that’s all i needed but they have eggs and bacon and different meats and breads and cereal, you will not go hungry that’s for sure. Lunch buffet can be eaten near the main lobby but we always opted to eat at the beach restaurant, the fried fish was amazing and if you don’t like what they offer you can always grab a burger or hot dog or grilled cheese sandwich in the beach grills which are located right on the beach, so you can lounge in your chair and take in the beautiful view while eating a yummy lunch.

The drinks were also yummy and although I don’t really like alcohol, and drink virgin pina colodas mostly you could tell everyone was enjoying their “alcoholic” beverages. I’m also not a coffee fanatic but I heard nothing but great things when it came to the coffee.

They have a small shop in the lobby but they have a bigger market 10 mins away which you can take a double decker bus, or an old vintage taxi or even better the little train that comes by, any which way you take its definitely an adventure. The market place has many artisan sculptures and dresses and paintings and wooden objects as well as beautiful crochet dresses or tshirts or nice jewellery. Don’t forget to purchase some rum, can’t leave without purchasing some Cuban rum. If you are a smoker, then you know about cuban cigars, and there are many places you can purchase them from. I bought some from the hotel.

The spa was beautiful and tranquil and the massages were fantastic, and we were allowed to use the big jacuzzi pool everyday because we booked massages with them. Definitely a must while you are there.

I even liked our room, it was quaint, with a nice view of the ocean, but a little outdated and could use some touch ups like new sheets and a fresh coat of paint but its definitely liveable and worked just fine for us for a week. It was also cleaned everyday and the maids and the gardeners always work very hard so they must be commended for a job well done.

The entertainment staff is quite nice, they always have a small show, more like a dance as well as playing a couple of games at poolside in the afternoon around 3 or 4 pm. They try hard to entertain everyone every night and of course the Michael Jackson show is always a thrill (punn intended) but I wish they would mix things up some more as all three times they basically had the same shows. The entertainment staff also greets you in the mornings at times when you go for breakfast and they are always smiling and making everyone feel included. They even gather at the disco/cigar lounge at night and dance with the guests.

The only other negative thing and its not really negative although some might think it is, is the long 90 min drive from the airport to the resort. You can choose to get upset and grumble about this or you can choose to enjoy the scenery and the lovely tour guide that tells you all about the cities you are driving through and their history while drinking a cerveza. This way time flies and you find that it can be an enjoyable drive.

Our deepest gratitude to the staff at playa cayo santa Maria, we will definitely come back and I highly recommend this resort to anyone going to Cayo Santa Maria Cuba. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Princess C – Newborn Photography – MPH Photography

December 4th, 2016

I had the pleasure of photographing this sweet couple’s 2nd baby girl the other day, I photographed her big sister a couple of years ago http://mphphotography.net/blog/2014/09/little-miss-t-9-days-old-newborn-session-mph-photography-toronto/ and it was an honour they called me again to photograph their 2nd baby.

Little Miss C was so adorable and so sweet, that newborn smell, those tiny little toes and cute little lips, I almost just wanted to hold her the whole time rather than photograph her. Time goes by so fast, and they are this small just for a little while, so you need to enjoy them at this age, as they will never be that small ever again. Photographing them at this age is the best thing as you will always have images to remember them back when they fit into your arms. She did so well and barely fussed at all and it was actually harder to get her older sister to want to take a picture, as she was into her show on the ipad, and anyone who has had a 2yr old knows how hard it can be to get their attention and make them do what you want to do. As a result, we didn’t get many shots with big sis in them, but we managed to get a few at least.

I can see how daddy is and going to be so protective of his little girls and with all their cute outfits, mommy is going to have fun dressing them up all the time. I’m sure these two little girls will be so loved and so cherished and I can see them growing up to be best friends, in between the usual sibling spats,lol.

I look forward to watching them grow and I hope I get to photograph them again when they are a bit older and documenting their childhood for them as they grow.

Thanks for asking me to photograph your sweet little girls again, it was wonderful seeing you all again and I hope you enjoy your sneak peek.

 

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Melia Jardines Del Rey Cayo Coco Cuba

August 17th, 2016

I have traveled around the world and if I could travel more often I would, but this trip that I took with my best friend (who is my daughter’s God mother as well) and my daughter joined us as well this time, and it will be a trip that we will cherish and always remember.

From the airlines, sunquest to the hotel, we couldn’t have been taken better care of. I wrote to sunquest and let them know that my daughter is autistic and only 3 and I was so nervous and anxious as this was her first trip  but with everyone’s help, it ended up being an amazing trip. Sunquest, was so kind and generous and put the 3 of us up in front and let us board first and asked us many times during the flight if everything was ok, and it was, it was more than ok, it was great. Mind you, I was totally prepared, I had snacks and drinks and toys and a laptop with her favourite shows and earphones as not to bother other passengers and I had even made about 20 bags of assorted candies and chocolates with a little note attached asking everyone to understand that my daughter is autistic and if she was to act up or act out to not get upset and hopefully to understand the stress of taking an autistic child on a trip. To my surprise, my daughter Elizabeth was perfect, all the way there, didn’t make a peep, never had a problem, and helped me feel so much more at ease than I had the night before getting everything ready for this trip. I didn’t even have to give out the candy bags, and ended up giving them to the daycare in Cuba.

Elizabeth only had 2 melt downs that whole week away, and both had to do with the airport. Once we got to Cuba, I did not get her stroller until after customs and I think that tiny little space that they make you walk through and talk to them about why you came to Cuba freaked her out. She did not want to go in there, and here I am with bags and her bag and I had to lift her, and she’s not light and then had to explain to the customs officer about her disability and then we had to take pictures, but they were very nice and understanding and once they opened up that other door to let us through, Elizabeth calmed down and then I saw our stroller and got her in there a.s.a.p. and the rest of travelling went smoothly after that. The bus trip to the hotel was great too. Once we got to the hotel, we were struck but the beauty and the grand entrance of the reception, one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. I made sure to contact a hotel rep before our travels and starting talking with a wonderful and such a helpful woman by the name of Lisbet. I told her all my concerns and she took care of each and every one of them. From giving us a great room on the first floor, both near the pool and beach and then booking all our reservations with the restaurants for us as knew this was going to be hard for us since Elizabeth won’t stand in any line for anything, so this took away a lot of stress, as well as easing my worries about the daycare there, she assured me that they were very capable of taking care of my little girl if we wished to use this service. We met up with Lisbet and she showed us around a bit and explained things and she was such a wonderful person and it was so great meeting her and having her help us, and she is one of the biggest reasons why we had such a wonderful time at this resort.

Only half the resort was open, but even still it was huge, and they were still in the process of fixing things and so there were a few issues, small ones, like needing more lights at night to see, and spaces between the squares on the floor and my stroller would bump its way along, thankfully Elizabeth didn’t complain so it wasn’t much of a problem, but it was a bit of a way to walk while she kept bumping up and down,lol.

Our room was beautiful and we had a great view of the ocean but there was a field of dry mud between our building and the beach and only one way to get to the beach, so you would have to walk around to get there, which we did the first day. Since it was our first day, we had no idea that we should have got up early to get chairs at the beach and so when we saw one palapa been occupied on one side, we decided to sit on the other side, only because the stroller would not go any farther, so we were stuck and I didn’t want Elizabeth getting burned, so I had to find shade for her. Wouldn’t you know it, I had some french canadian couple, move our things while we were in the water, and when I got out to ask them, they told me that they had to get up at 6am to get the palapa and that the WHOLE palapa was theirs. I argued with them and told them that this was not allowed and they should be ashamed of themselves to take away the only shade my daughter who was autistic had, they didn’t care. They were rude and selfish and I told them that as we packed up and left. That was the only bad thing that happened the whole week though, and it was not the resort’s fault so I didn’t hold it against them. Plus, they were in the midst of building more palapa’s everyday so I knew eventually this most likely wouldn’t be a problem in the future. We then went and checked out the daycare and we fell in love with the ladies there, right away they loved Elizabeth and you could tell they would take good care of her and so we told them we would have them watch her for a couple of hours the next day.

The restaurants in this resort were AMAZING!! Each one had fantastic food and since I had been to Cuba before and knew what to expect, I was blown out of the water. Even at the buffet there was a large selection and you never left hungry. They could change things up a bit and offer different foods on different days but other than that, we couldn’t complain. The waiters were all great, big smiles on their faces, very friendly and we were well taken care of every time.

The stage and auditorium was huge, and the shows were fun, and entertaining. We met lots of wonderful people and we had such a wonderful week there, we really couldn’t have asked for a better time.

I know that this resort will only get better as they open up the other half and fix a few things and build more palapas and at least a couple of more pathways to the beach. We did get up early the rest of the week to make sure we got a palapa on the beach but it was worth it. I wish we didn’t have to do that and hopefully future guests won’t have to resort to this as long as they build lots more palapas.

We left Elizabeth with the daycare everyday for a couple of hours until lunch, and they would even take her around the resort in the stroller and by the end everyone knew who she was, and because it was her birthday while we were there, they had a huge cake for her and sang to her and it was really so sweet and the peace I had knowing that she was well taken care of was like no other. In the afternoon we would pick her up and then go to the pool and spend the rest of the day there. The pools are big and amazing too and love the beds as this was perfect for Elizabeth, she could sit and watch her laptop and then go for a swim and back to watching her movies. This was the best first trip for my little girl and I’m so grateful for all that helped make this trip so special and wonderful for her and all of us.

The only other time we had a problem was getting off the plane back in Canada, Elizabeth didn’t want to get off the plane, and had a melt down, a long one, which is unusual so we waited while they brought the stroller up to us and it took about 20 mins for her to calm down in total even after putting her in the stroller, but again everyone on board was understanding and the flight attendants helped us so much and then getting through customs so easily and quickly helped tremendously.

I will always recommend this resort. The Melia Des Jardines Del Rey, will always be one of my most favourite resorts and I hope that we can go back there again soon. Much thanks to everyone, especially Lisbet and Amarilys and Lisyen who worked in the daycare and Eliover by the beach and Randy who kept us safe in general as he was the security guard, and to everyone else who helped make our trip so special, MUCHOS GRACIAS!! Hope to see you all again real soon. Besos

Here are some pics from my point and shoot camera, I have nice images from my pro camera but this was faster,lol.

On our way to the airport in style, Elizabeth’s first limo ride.

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Guy and Mary Flor’s Wedding – MPH Photography – Toronto

November 14th, 2015

We have had the pleasure of knowing Guy since he was in highschool with my husband, and there were 5 guys that were all best friends and would hang out all the time and once my hubby and I got together at age 17 I joined the group. We have had so much fun together over the years, so many wonderful memories, so many birthdays and Guy came to all our weddings, and now that its his turn, we couldn’t be happier for him.

Guy has always been the sweetest and most awesome person, not a mean bone in his body and a very talented musician as well. We know his whole family, his sweet loving parents and his beautiful and adorable and kind sisters Anna and Tina and who could forget Gio, he was a fresh teen when we met him and now he has grown into a wonderful young man,  I know Guy was instrumental in helping shape Gio into the fine young person he is today. Guy has been such a great friend, he has such a wonderful heart and is always caring, you can always count on him and I know just about everyone feels the same way as we do about him.  We knew once he found his soulmate that that girl would be one special bride. We love him so much that we asked him to be the Godfather of our first child George, he was the natural choice and I knew he would be a great influence on all our kids and an inspiration to them as well as someone who will be there for them and help them out whenever they need.

When Guy told us that he was getting married, we were so thrilled for him and then he asked Chris and I to photograph their wedding, it was truly an honour that he wanted us to capture his special day for him.

We were so happy to meet Mary Flor and right away we knew she was a sweetheart and felt that these two would make a beautiful couple.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and there was so much joy and lots of laughter all day long. We photographed them both getting ready at the Delta East and then we went to Highway Gospel church for the ceremony and after the formals we went to Ellas banquet hall, which is the same hall we had our wedding reception at, so it was nice going back there again.

What a wonderful wedding, truly it was such a beautiful occasion and it was filled with lots of love and so much happiness, old friends and family getting together to celebrate this special couple on this special day and we are blessed to have been a part of it.

Guy and Mary Flor, we wish you both all the love in the world, may God bless you both and we love you with all our hearts, thank you for choosing us to capture your special day and celebrate your love with you,  we wish you a life full of blessings and everlasting joy and happiness.

 

 

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