Archive for the ‘mexico’ Category


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Before heading off to Mexico with First Choice Holidays, we’d never stayed at an all inclusive hotel before as a family…

We were delighted with all the Riu Palace Pacifico had to offer… during our time out there we adventured to beaches, experienced whizzing through the jungle and wandered around the old town… but we could easily have stayed right there in the hotel all week.

Here’s just a little flavour of what we got up to just in the hotel…

We were spoilt with a choice of pool or beach… Opting to hang out at the pool early in the morning or at sunset, when there weren’t so many people around…

It was the beach that stole our hearts… reclining under the shade of the palm trees and frolicking in the waves. The water was warm, so not that refeshing from the outside temperatures, but wonderful for the boys to play in for hours. The perfect waves made for fun body boarding – we all became addicted to riding into shore… even me!

It was a peaceful beach, beautiful sand and thankfully not many passers by selling goods. One morning we borrowed kayaks from the water sport centre for no extra cost, paddling at a leisurely pace down the cost.

The sea was really calm once you got past the breaking waves.

I was especially happy at sunset… the temperatures were cooler and the colours were magnificent… as each golden hour was different. The boys would swim or dig holes in the sand, we’d take drinks to the shore and watch the Frigate birds swoop overhead – they looked like something from the pre-historic age.

The food and drink was plentiful and so much variety with a choice of restaurants… The morning buffet was my favourite, with an abundance of fruit and everything you could possibly want for a cooked breakfast. Naturally, the boys were in love with the freshly made donuts and the chocolate fountain with marshmallows at dinner.

I don’t think we even touched the surface of all the activities on offer at Riu Palace Pacifico. Ky took Spanish lessons one morning, all the boys went jet skiing (for an additional fee), we watched the water polo and aerobics. I sneaked off for a massage in the spa, purely for research purposes of course! (this was also an additional fee) and I can report it was fabulous. While the boys entertained themselves with ping pong alongside the pool and when that got too hot, they retired to the air conditioned sports bar for a few rounds of air hockey.

As I sipped another iced fruity cocktail in pool side bar one afternoon, watching my family having a super time splashing in the water… I felt so very blessed to be there. So a huge cheers to First Choice Holidays for giving us the opportunity to experience and blog all about our Out Of Office adventure. We loved you Mexico and can’t wait to go back one day.


Written by xanthe

July 9th, 2014 at 2:29 pm


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I have to remind myself that our First Choice Out Of Office trip to Mexico really did happen. Holiday memories fade once the routine of life takes over.

It was a little slice of magic, and thankfully it’s been re-played in my mind as I work through the photos & video footage I gathered.

We managed to pack SO much into our week away as First Choice Hoildays organised some amazing excursions, which I’ll go into more detail in future posts here and on their blog - There’s lots to share… the boat & beach trip + Zip lining adventures in the jungle and the fab hotel!

For now… here are my favourite moments, the little snippets that take us back to all we experienced – the random memories that keep the holiday alive in my mind – the heat, the colours, the adventures, the beach time, the hammocks… so much goodness!

All shot on Canon EOS 5DIII with 35mm 1.4 lens with additional footage from the iPhone 5s

I’ll be back with more soon… a few one minute memories and a load of photos filled with sunshine…

More Mexico posts here…


Written by xanthe

July 3rd, 2014 at 10:30 am


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I had no intention of making another Adventures in Water film before we left for Mexico. I’d done it already and was looking to create something new.

But once there and seeing how much time we were spending in & around water, in the hotel’s pool and glorious beach… my cameras were capturing it all.

I so enjoyed shooting in the slow motion setting on the iPhone 5s and once I started going through the footage upon my return, I wondered if I could use the same theme, but create something different, by giving this film a slower pace than part one. I tend to make upbeat films packed with short snippets of footage, this film would be slow and thoughtful with longer segments. Besides the theme of water might be the same, but the location is new and my family have changed a year on!

So here it is. Water adventures – part two. The same but different.

I had so much fun shooting it, with so many great water experiences. Body boarding was such a blast, I could’ve made an exclusive body boarding film actually… and maybe I will!

To get the body boarding shots – I was on a board too, I have a strap on my LifeProof case, so it’s secure around my wrist, and I held the device on the board for stability facing my subject and then waited for the right wave…

If you’d like to try shooting video under & around water – check out my tips here… Also, try and capture your footage early in the day when the pool is quiet, it’s much nicer to have clear backgrounds not full of people…

The song in the film is so apt for how I feel about this experience… we were so lucky – thank you to First Choice holidays & everyone on the blogging team for making this all possible, we were very spoilt and visiting Mexico was a dream come true!

More photos and films to come from our experiences… stay tuned.


You can make films like this – captured on your mobile or camera, simply edited and created to share & have for years to come. Creating Time Capsules – A JOURNEY starts next week and there’s still time to join… All the details are here.

As promised… announcement for my giveaway! Here are random lucky winners for a place on Creating Time capsules…

Kristen Pape & Marina – I’ll contact you later today to get you all set up.

Happy Friday!

Photos shot iPhone 5s – Film captured on the iPhone 5s with a LifeProof case with additional footage from the Canon 5D mIII


Written by xanthe

June 6th, 2014 at 2:15 pm


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We’re back… Mexico was ace in SO many ways… and slowly over a few blog posts here & on the First Choice blog, I’ll share some of the adventures.

I’m just beginning to sift through footage and images from my Canon DSLR. So let’s start with iPhone images…

The colours… oh the colours of Mexico. They did not disappoint. Everywhere was colour, I was in heaven. Greedily, I want more, this just felt like a taste of what Mexico & South America has to offer and hope we can make it back there soon, to bask in the colours I love to shoot.

The colour in abundance was BLUE… it was everywhere… surrounding us in the sea & the sky… and of course, in the pool at the hotel.

Oh BLUE… you are delight! – There’s plenty more colour & sunshine to come…

Now for a giveaway!

Creating Time Capsules – A JOURNEY starts next week… all the details are here.

As promised before I left. Let’s do a giveaway - The offer is for TWO places to take part – Double the chance to win!. All you need to do is leave a comment and I’ll pick a couple of random comments on Friday 6th June.

Now, before I go… let me share possibly my favourite clip from the trip… It’s short & it’s imperfect. Shot on the fly on the iPhone, the focus is off as there was no time to set this shot up, it was totally spur of moment.

But I love it!

It sums up Cosmo at this moment in his life. You see, Cosmo is never without cards, constantly doing tricks on anyone who’ll give him attention.

During our visit to Las Caletas, he fell in love with this Macaw… and wanted him to become part his act… we were totally surprised by what happened!


All photos & video shot on the iPhone 5s.



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Popping in with a few favourite frames from our adventures so far here in Mexico.

We are making the most of this amazing experience from First Choice holidays.

Photos captured on the Canon 5DmIII & iPhone 5s

Written by xanthe

May 29th, 2014 at 6:02 pm


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This week has been a roller coaster of feelings – some wonderful things bringing joy and excitement & then certain events have stopped me in my tracks, with the knowledge of how fragile & unpredictable life is.

This is it. This is all we’ve got.

This one life.

I was reminded just how precious life is and how we must treasure every moment we have. I hope you do too.

So on that note… it’s time to make the most of this life…

At the end of last year I won the chance to blog for First Choice holidays… and tomorrow we are going to adventure to Mexico.

We’re so excited I can’t tell you… we’re staying here in Puerto Vallarta and every time I think about it, I burst!

First Choice holidays have been amazing, covering every detail & setting up some amazing excursions for us – Thank you. Plus we’ve been researching colourful & vibrant places to visit nearby. Mexico has been on my dream list of places to visit, just for all the colours I imagine are there… I can’t believe it’s happening.

I’m so looking forward to creating out there – making films & taking photos, so I thought I’d share all the gear coming with me… I packed all of this for our big hopeful adventure last year, so even though it’s seems a lot, it works for me.

Laptop + external drive – so I can back up all my footage and photos. I keep the hard drive in a waterproof pouch and store it separately from my other gear.

Camera and one lens – I find this lens is all I need as it spends 95% of the time on my camera anyway. It’s heavy but I’m used to it.

Epiphane bagSydney – This bag is great for traveling… it’s back pack (but can be carried on one shoulder) and fits all I need to be out shooting all day.

Extra memory cards and batteries – The cards are stored in a pouch to keep them safe.

Wires & plugs – So many it’s ridiculous! All the chargers for my phone, batteries and the card reader + an international plug adapter and an extension, so I charge multiple items at once, without needing more adapters. I put all these in a Baggu bag, which is pretty and lightweight.

Mobile photography – iPhone 5s + Life proof case + battery pack. I find the iPhone battery won’t last me a day if I’m shooting a lot, so a backup charger is useful, especially to charge multiple phones at once.

Notebook + pens – because it’s still nice to write things down the old fashioned way… and have a place to collect tickets, notes and momentos.

Essential oils and hairbands – I have rescue remedy and lavender oil to calm and reassure… travelling is amazing, but can be overwhelming, these oils really help me. Hairbands – for those windy & hot days, obvs.

Finally – Camera manual – just in case something goes wrong and I can’t access the internet.

We’ll be gone for a week… I may pop in here to share a photo or two or I may just take time to soak it all up… but you’ll be able to follow along on Instagram for sure.

Before I sign off… a few things…

Registration is still open for Creating Time Capsules – A JOURNEY – I will run a little give-away once I return, so stay tuned on the 3rd June.

Squam In The City is pre-registering – Photo walks and workshops in Providence, Rhode Island… It’s going to be so much fun.

And finally, Color//colour lovers is coming back in June! For those of you that have asked. Andrea & I will playing with all the colours again.

Take care & see you on the other side. x.





Written by xanthe

May 23rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm