We went on our first holiday together since having the boys and it was exactly what the doctor ordered!
Kam won a fantastic holiday to Marrakesh from work. We, along with around 100 others were flown on a chartered plane to Morocco and they certainly didn’t cut any corners. We stayed at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental. As we drove down the tranquil driveway with greenary and fresh flowers budding on either side, we knew it was going to be special. We were greeted with cold flannels and as the hotel had been exclusively booked out for the company, check in was very easy. We were escorted to our private villa, one of 54, which are all pretty much identical. There’s only one word for it……….wow!!!
It was absolutely incredible, the most luxurious villa we have ever seen. Our front door was opened and we were met with the most beautiful view – a large courtyard with a central pool and adjoining jacuzzi, surrounded by sun loungers, sofas, and an open fire, as well as a curtained alcove. We couldn’t believe that all this was just for the two of us. The courtyard itself was big enough to accommodate 2-3 families, not just 2 people! Then we were wowed even more as we walked through to the open and bright bathroom with a large circular jacuzzi and dressing area, complete with a shower and steam room as well as a walk in wardrobe. Opposite this, on the other side of the jacuzzi was a living area with yet more sofas and a television. Last but not least was the bedroom with glass doors opening straight out onto the jacuzzi. Every detail was so well thought of. The decor was modern and contemporary but still had the authentic Moroccan touches such as lanterns placed around the pool. It was perfect, it was heaven.
I had a clear plan for this holiday, which involved lots of sleep, relaxation and getting dressed up for evening dinners. That is exactly what I did.
We got to our room for around 4pm on day one and it took about 30 minutes for our bags to arrive. Kam was straight in the pool. I attempted to go in the jacuzzi but found it to be far too cold so got straight back out and decided the sun loungers looked much more appealing. It was great just lying in the sun and doing absolutely nothing for a couple of hours. We were meeting for drinks at 7.45pm so I started showering and getting ready at 6.30pm. I hardly ever get the time to use all the makeup products I have spent so much money on as I’m always thinking ahead about packing the changing bag for the boys or getting them ready, so it was nice to have this time to focus on me. I even had my nails done before we went away, which was once a fortnightly ritual for me, but is now definitely a rarity. Today was a smart casual night so I opted to wear a beaded white and black crop top and a pair of white jeans with single strap black heels. I accessorised my outfit with simple stud earrings and my beautiful Rado watch. I used quite light and natural tones for my makeup. I usually take a couple of eyeshadow palettes with me on holiday, however since purchasing the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette, it goes everywhere with me and there is no need to take anything else. I love all the shades as you can create so many different looks.
The night started with a drinks reception of champagne, wines and beers. There was no seating plan for dinner on day one but we were fortunate to be sitting with three other lovely couples at our table. The atmosphere was relaxed, the food was great with plenty of wine flowing, and the company even better. There was a little bit of baby talk as expected, with most of us having young children, however not too much. It was a perfect warm up for the nights to come. It’s been so long since I fully let my hair down like this. I didn’t have to worry about the boys waking up early in the morning and having to get up with a hangover to resume mummy duties. To be honest, I’m not a big drinker and in fact don’t even have even a glass of wine at home at the weekend as I worry about…..well actually I’m not entirely sure why. There’s just something inside me which makes me think that something could go wrong and if there was an emergency with the boys, what if I couldn’t attend to them properly or drive them to hospital if I needed to? I’m sure you’re all thinking they are crazy and irrational reasons and probably rightly so! Well anyway, we got back to our room and I had the best sleep I’ve had in years!
Both of our phones were dead so we had no idea what time it was when we woke up in the morning. I was in a slight panic as we were meeting in the hotel lobby to get our minibus to the Medina and to wander the souks with a guide at 9.30am. When my phone charged up a bit, we saw that it was only 5.30am. I guess it’s just the routine that we’re in as Rhys usually ends up in our bed around this time. We managed to get a bit more kip and I woke up so refreshed and with plenty of time to have a nice long shower and get ready.
Breakfast was lovely, with a variety of fresh fruits and pastries, as well as a counter with your typical English fried breakfast, complete with an omelette station. The one thing I found was that there was no concept of brewing tea. I asked for tea and as soon as it was poured, I could see that it was incredibly weak and before I knew it the milk was put in. I learned my lesson so from then on, whenever I asked for tea I would ask them to let it brew in the teapot for a while.
This was our second visit to the Medina and the souks. Kam and I visited Marrakesh and stayed in a riad 4 years ago. It wasn’t really his thing as he much prefers luxury and contemporary accommodation, but it was an experience. As we had already purchased leather goods the last time we were there, we definitely didn’t want to buy any more. The bag I bought had such a strong, intense odour that I couldn’t actually use it and had to throw it out after just a few weeks. The strap on the hold-all that Kam got broke, as did the zip. The quality wasn’t great. However we did love the candles we bought and I always use them. The only things we bought this time was a fridge magnet and some argon oil from the herbalist at the the Phamacee. This was where the guide took us and as there are so many places selling the oil there, it’s hard to know where to buy from and how pure it really is. I was happy with it though as it really did make my hair feel so soft and silky.
It was a nice morning spent walking around but it was also quite warm. Being a mum of two, my bladder isn’t what it once used to be so there’s only a limited amount I can drink before needing to use the ladies. I didn’t really want to risk needing to go so therefore limited my intake, making me feel slightly dehydrated. We visited the Majorelle Garden, owned by Pierre Berge and the late Yves Saint Laurent, which is famous not only for the flowers and exotic plants but also because this is where the late designer’s ashes were scattered.
We were so hungry by the time we got back to the hotel so went straight to the Pool Garden for lunch. The lunches here are slightly expensive for what they are in all honesty, but it’s also in keeping with it being a 5 star premium hotel. We ordered a cheeseburger and club sandwich, both came with fries and we had three cans of coke, which came to 660 Dirhams (approximately £55).
We went back to our villa and I attempted to get into the pool but it was too cold for me. I used the couple of hours we had wisely – to have a nap in the courtyard before my evening ritual of makeup and dressing up. I think the fact that it was taking me around an hour and a half to get ready was annoying Kam a bit, but that didn’t stop me! Tonight was a casual dress code for the “Wildcard Dinner.” There was again a drinks reception followed by dinner around the pool but this time with a seating plan. Kam and I were placed at the table with the CEO of the company, with me sitting right beside him. I think Kam was probably slightly anxious about that (hehehe). It was a fantastic evening and great to get to know Kam’s boss, as just like for me, his work definitely comes home with him. But hearing more about the company and the view for the future has given me more insight and probably more patience for what he does. Unsurprisingly we were amongst the first to leave on this night, which I was quite happy about as I couldn’t wait to crawl into that lovely, comfy bed and having another wonderful nights sleep.
Day 3 was a chilled out day spent lounging around the villa pool and actually getting into the jacuzzi, which was now warm, and the pool, which was still a bit cold. Some of the others had mentioned that their jacuzzi was lovely and warm so we did ask someone to come and take a look at ours on day 2. They turned the temperature up but it took a good 24 hours to actually warm up. Apparently the pool was also heated but this took a couple of days to heat up and we weren’t aware of this until day 3, by which time it was too late.
The dinner setting was literally amazing. A platform over the hotel lagoon is where we were seated for the Gala Dinner. Dinner itself was nice, I wasn’t too keen on the duck pate starter, or the lamb for main but it was a 5 course meal so I certainly didn’t go hungry. The dessert tonight was exceptional, a lovely rich chocolate golden dome with salted butter caramel. The entertainment for the evening was belly dancers and fire breathers; their performances were great. Then the dancing finally started and most people got involved. It was a fab night, which is evident from all the selfies taken!
The next day was a complete write off, but perfectly so. It was completely in line with my plan of sleeping and relaxing. I woke up to find that it was 10.30am! I couldn’t get Kam out of bed in time for breakfast and to be honest I wasn’t hungry either and much preferred the idea of staying in bed and sleeping some more. By the time we finally woke up it was 2pm – just in time for the sun as we were told that the morning had been pretty cloudy. We ordered some food to the room at around 3pm and just chilled out. I well and truly threw all the stresses I have out my mind. I didn’t even think about work and thankfully my emails weren’t loading either so it really was a break.
That evening a group of us went to the Medina for dinner. We dined on a rooftop terrace at a modern Moroccan restaurant called Nomad. The food was good and incredibly reasonably priced at 370 Dirhams per couple (just over £30). Most of us just went straight for main meals. I had a lamb burger and Kam had lamb chops, which were a bit small but the flavour was good. A couple of people did order starters, which they were a bit disappointed with, as they arrived with their main meals. This was an alcohol free night as it wasn’t served at this particular restaurant, to the horror of some! It was a short walk back to our minibus, which along with the guide, who waited at the restaurant for us to finish before bringing us back, cost more than the food itself. We paid 250 dirhams per person (approximately £20) for a 10 minute journey each way! Although it was much more convenient to do it this way so we didn’t mind paying.
Day 5 was spa day for Kam and I; something we had been looking forward to since the start of the holiday. We opted for Caracal; a 3 and a half hour package, consisting of a hammam, hairwashing, scalp massage, oxygen facial and full body massage. It was bliss! I would highly recommend it but it does come at a price of 3300 Dirhams (approximately £275 each). We both came out of it feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. It was a wonderful experience and something I would definitely do again. Our treatments started at 2pm and it was just after 6pm by the time we got out. This was the last night so we had both packed most of our belongings before the spa so that we didn’t have to frantically pack in the morning (as we were leaving at 10.30am). I was ready in record time for me (just over an hour) and then we had a couple of people over to our villa for drinks before going to dinner. Stupidly we didn’t buy any alcohol from duty free and found that a small bottle of Belvedere vodka was over £140 from the mini bar. Kam and a couple of others took the short journey to a local supermarket on day 2 (costing less than £10 each way) and managed to get a few snacks, wine, beers and a bottle of Ciroc vodka for less than £100, including the journey price. So I would recommend either buying from duty free or heading out to a supermarket for alcohol if you don’t want to pay an extortionate price.
This was by far the best dinner we had and it was at a new restaurant, which has opened in the hotel, called Ling Ling (Hakkasan). The food was on point and couldn’t be faulted at all. The biggest hit was the beef ribs which were crispy and sticky on the outside but the meat was so tender on the inside and had even been deboned. This was my first Hakkasan experience but we will most certainly be going again to the one in London Mayfair.
The last nights sleep wasn’t great for me but I think that’s because I was so excited to see the boys and couldn’t stop thinking about them and picturing their cheeky little smiles. It was so difficult not speaking to them for 5 days but we did watch them on FaceTime a couple of times. I did feel guilty about not being able to tell them how much I love them and that they mean the world to me as it is something I make a point of doing every day. However, I didn’t want to risk upsetting them by them seeing us or speaking to us, so it was probably for the best.
The flight back was delayed but when we finally saw our little monsters they were just full of kisses, smiles and cuddles. It was a nice break but was even nicer to be back with our babies. It’s definitely important and healthy for any relationship to have some quality time together without the children. Date nights don’t happen often enough for us as we rely so much on family help throughout the week and some weekends when I’m on call, that I feel it’s unfair to ask for an additional babysitting session for us to go out. If Kam hadn’t won this trip away, I doubt we would have planned for just the two of us to go away. However, we would like this to be an annual thing, even if it’s for a long weekend away.