It’s no secret that I am slightly obsessed with celebrity. So last year when my friends decided to take a trip to Beaches in Turks and Caicos – the exact same resort that Beverly Hills 90210’s Jennie Garth and her husband Twilight star Peter Facinelli took their kids to – I had to go! Of course there was the small issue of convincing my husband, but I had faith!
So last June we booked the trip even though my husband was convinced we wouldn't be going. It’s not that he didn’t want to go, or that he thought he wouldn’t have a good time – it’s that Beaches isn’t cheap. After all, this is a resort that many celebrities have brought their families to. In addition to my 90210 girl crush Jennie Garth, celebs such as Shaquille O’Neal, Cyndi Lauper, Debi Mazar and Joey Fatone have all vacationed at the luxury resort. And as a family of six, our stay was going to run us in the neighbourhood of $10,000.00 (before flights!) Which meant I had my work cut out for me. But in my experience, you tend to get what you pay for, so I was determined. Then late last year Erica went on a press trip to the very same resort and came home raving about it, only making me want to go more. Fortunately, my husband’s co-worker also had just visited the resort and told him that it was the best vacation he ever had, and at that point it was official – we were going.
So let’s just say that when we arrived at the resort I already felt like a celebrity. With the sun shining we pulled up to the resort and were greeted immediately with a lovely cocktail before being taken to our rooms that were fit for any A-lister. We have friends who have been to Beaches before so we knew going in that we wanted to stay in the Italian Village (the resort consists of The French, Caribbean and Italian Villages – the Italian being the newest and most luxurious). The room was stunning, and we had a walk out patio the led right to one of the resorts many pools. As a big family we often have a hard time finding one room that will fit all 6 of us – but we had room to spare here.
So while I was already getting used to living like a celebrity, so were my kids. The first night we were there, Elmo himself came and tucked them in. Yup, that’s right. Elmo came to our room along with his helper and read my kids a bedtime story and tucked them into bed! I have never seen them so star struck in my life! It was so cute to see them in awe of the big red furry monster – they’re still talking about it! And the Sesame Street characters are in abundance at the resort, often spotted just walking around the pool or leading an impromptu dance party, or you can attend a character breakfast (at an additional charge) where all of them are present. My kids baked cookies with cookie monster, had cake with Elmo at his birthday party and walked in the weekly parade with Big Bird! Before we went to Beaches my kids weren’t Sesame Street fans, but by the end they were all star struck!
We took this trip with five other families, and all of us had rooms in the same vicinity making our nightly gatherings poolside easy to do. We just tucked our kids into bed, grabbed our beverage of choice from our fully stocked bar fridge (did I mention I now have a thing for champagne?) and enjoyed the evening. The resort was incredible. It was at full capacity during our stay, which made it quite busy - but what can you expect when you travel during March break? There were shows most nights that involved the whole family, including a kids talent show and a beach party that featured a fire eater (at which I came 2nd place in the ‘Dance like Shakira’ contest) The kids were in heaven with the water park, lazy river, surf simulator ( my 6yo was body boarding like a pro!) and diner that featured self serve ice cream and cookies – so much so that I think a few of them were on the verge of tears when we had to leave.
To say that we had the best trip of our lives would be an understatement. There were 6 families – all of us girls who have known each other since high school, who went on this trip. There was no way we were having a bad time, but this resort made it so much better. Beaches was the ideal place for us to be because it offered something for all of us. The kids were in heaven with the water park and kid friendly diner, which also featured endless cotton candy daily - those who liked water sports enjoyed taking the sailboats out or going on the snorkelling excursions - and those of us who were just there to relax enjoyed a visit to the incredible Red Lane spa and laying by the pool soaking up the sun and enjoying the champagne and frozen cocktails. We even took advantage of the babysitting services one night and all hired babysitters to enjoy a dinner at the French restaurant Le Petit Chateau followed up by us hitting the onsite nightclub, Liquid Lounge (also open to just the under-18 crowd before 11pm).
We have done a few family vacations before, all of which consisted of me cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and grocery shopping. I don’t know about you but that’s pretty much just like my regular everyday life – just in a warmer climate. For this vacation I wanted to feel like was truly being pampered – I wanted to be treated like a celebrity! And trust me – that’s exactly what happened at Beaches. I woke up each morning and had a fantastic breakfast (the food really is incredible here) and came back to a perfectly spotless room, often with special treats like chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. I then spent the day with my best girlfriends while our kids played in the pool together, never having to worry about when to cook lunch or what to prepare for dinner.
We loved our trip so much we’re already planning next year’s vacation! As a matter of fact 4 of the 6 families who made the trip have already re-booked, and the rooms that we stayed in are sold out already (stupidly I am NOT one of the people who re-booked already and I am so mad that the rooms we had are gone already! Must keep my eyes open now in case of cancellation!!!) I have to say, I quite got used to feeling like a celebrity during my trip – those people have it pretty good! So if you want to spoil yourself and have a vacation you won’t soon forget, check out Beaches Turks and Caicos, you won’t be disappointed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear a glass of champagne calling my name.
Scene and Heard
Confessions of a Pop Culture Mummy
Cartoons – they’re a staple of childhood. For years Hollywood has been trying to capitalize on the appeal of cartoons by remaking some of the most popular ones into live action feature films. This isn’t an easy task by any means, because so much of the appeal of a cartoon is the fact that it’s based on a world of fantasy, and that world doesn’t always translate well into live action. Sometimes the live action adaptation is good, and sometimes it’s bad, but there are some movies that have done a great job of bridging the cartoon to live action genre. Here are some of my favourites;
Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo Monsters Unleashed – The Scooby Doo franchise is a big favourite in my house with my kids loving the show as much as my husband and I did growing up. We watch the old school ‘Scooby Doo – Where Are You’ on TELETOON Retro and the newly revamped ‘What’s New Scooby Doo’ on TELETOON almost daily. When Hollywood decided to make a live action version I was a bit skeptical. I mean, it’s a story about a talking dog after all! But much to my surprise I really enjoyed both the Scooby Doo movies, as did my kids. The studio did a great job of staying true to the original idea behind the cartoon and didn’t change the characters for the sake of the movies.
Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – About a year ago while visiting my parent’s house my mother gave my nephew a Transformer action figure. But this wasn’t one of the new ones; this was one that my 43 year old brother had when he was a kid! That’s how long Transformers have been around – so you know that the concept for a hit movie was there. Both Transformers movies were awesome action flicks that once again stayed true to the original premise and even improved on it. And I will honestly say that I can’t wait for the latest sequel to hit theatres this summer.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel - When I was little my Alvin and the Chipmunks album was one of my favorites. I missed seeing the first live action remake but did catch ‘The Squeakquel’ in the theatres with my family. Again, I think the secret to a good cartoon to live action transition is making sure that the characters stay as true to form as they were originally written. Alvin, Simon and Theodore have now had the same personalities for the last 30 years. It’s what we love about them.
Inspector Gadget - The original animated series has been around since the early ‘80’s, but in 1999 Hollywood decided to try its hand at a live action version starring Matthew Broderick as the Inspector and Rupert Everett as Dr. Claw. While the animated series was always funny and light, the movie version was a bit too dark. The movie actually did pretty good at the box office and was a decent adaptation, but sometimes cartoons are better left as cartoons.
In 2005 a new animated movie, Inspector Gadget: Biggest Caper Ever, was released, allowing our kids to enjoy one of the shows that we grew up with in the way that it should be – in its animated form. TELETOON Retro will be airing Inspector Gadget: Biggest Caper Ever on Friday April 1st as their Retro Big Ticket Movie if you want to check it out with your kids.
I’m curious what you think about cartoons being remade as live action feature films – good idea, or bad? Can you think of any good ones that I missed?
Scene and Heard
Confessions From A Pop Culture Mummy
More upcoming TELETOON Retro Big Ticket Movies on
Fridays at 7pm ET:
- April 8: Casper Scare School
- April 15: Dark Crystal
- April 22: Looney, Looney, Looney, Bugs
- April 29: Inspector Gadget: Biggest Caper
- May 6: Flintstones Meet the Jetsons
- May 13: Captain America
You can check out www.teletoon.com for more details.
My kids are creatures of habit – I think they get that from me. They tend to watch the same shows and movies over and over…mostly because I have control of the remote. I tend to play what I know will buy me enough time to get dinner started or grab a quick coffee in the middle of the day. But that gets very boring after a while and makes it so that I can recite the entire dialogue of certain shows in my sleep. Let’s just say that if I have to watch one more episode of Caillou my head might just explode. So when I was asked to let you know that the new Turbo Dogs Volume 2 DVD was being released - and that I had five copies to give away to some lucky readers - I was very excited, but also kind nervous – because I had never heard of Turbo Dogs.
To remedy that the nice people at eOne Films sent me a copy of Turbo Dogs which I immediately put into my DVD player. My boys were glued to the TV. This is already scoring points with me because I am able to make lunch in peace while my boys ooh and ahh at the cool racing dogs on the screen. Turbo Dogs is a super cute cartoon based on the book Racer Dogs about a group of canines who love to hit the race track. Of course every episode has a valuable life lesson for your kids to learn about, such as friendship, sharing and fair play, but it also features some pretty cool dogs that most kids can relate to as well.
There’s the hero Dash, your typical leading dog who sports a #1 on his racing car, and Mags, who represents for the girls who watch the show. GT the bulldog is the ‘Mr. Fixit’ dog while Strut is the dog that, in the words of our own Jen Charron, (whose son LOVES the Turbo Dogs) tends to be a bit of a ‘badass’! They are rounded out by Stinkbert (I think his name speaks for himself) and Clutch – who is the well meaning klutzy dog!
Now when my two younger boys come home from school they ask to watch Turbo Dogs by name. I love this because it’s always fun to introduce new programs and it’s a really cool show with a great message. So if you haven’t had a chance to introduce your kids to Turbo Dogs they have a new DVD available now, but you can always try to win a copy here too.
I'm giving away five copies of Turbo Dogs Volume 2. To be eligible for a chance to win a copy of this new DVD that’s sure to be a hit with your little racer, leave a comment below and tell me – which Turbo Dog character is your child most like?
I’m gonna be honest - my 4 year old Anthony - is a mini Strut!
Even if you don’t win a copy you can still enjoy Turbo Dogs Volume 2. Check for it at your local DVD retailer or buy it on amazon.ca.
Scene and Heard
Confessions of a Pop Culture Mummy
Proudly sponsored by our friends at eOne Films
Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a Yummy Mummy Club member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. No purchase necessary. One comment per member. Open only to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec), Must be age of majority. Entries accepted until May 5, 2011. Total approximate retail value of Prize is $20 CDN each.