Mauritian Smiles. And Freeze Frames.

At the beginning of November, we spent a week at Sugar Beach in Mauritius. Just us girls and seven days of sun, sand and turquoise sea. If you're thinking of the cliched tropical island brochures - powdery beaches, sunsets, palm trees swaying in the breeze - you would be exactly right.

Our days tumbled by in a blur of sandy blond hair, sticky sunscreen, adventures, afternoon naps and sunset swims. We had long conversations over dinner, and shared pancakes with maple syrup at breakfast. I drank cocktails - Mauritian Smiles, caipirinhas, daiquiris, mojitos - and she drank mocktails. We spent hours in the pool, and watched french cartoons (Captain Biceps!) and drank way too many bottles of Fanta Orange from the mini bar.

We sailed. Well, she sailed. Under the not-terribly-watchful eye of Yohan, our very favourite skipper.

Halfway through the week, we decided to leave the beach behind for a bit and do some exploring. So we hired a taxi, and drove for an hour to the south of the island to check out the giant tortoises. Totally worth the car trip, and me trying to distract her for most of the way from throwing up on the back seat.

They were so cute that I could almost ignore the signs everywhere shouting 'DANGER: TORTOISES BITE'. Because really, these were more dinosaurs than tortoises, but they seemed amiable enough as long as we were holding a leafy something in front of them.

That's a finger. Immy took about a zillion photos of me, all with that finger in the top left corner. This one was my favourite because it actually had a tortoise in it.

The best part? We made friends. Immy found a set of awesome twins, and the holiday friendship was cemented after their first two hour swim in the pool. The girls built sandcastles, and drank coconut water, and ate pizzas and swam for hours on end, while their mom and I chatted about everything ranging from kids to love to marriage to life in Greece and South Africa respectively.

There is something about waking up and spending your days inside a travel brochure that just compels a person to take endless photos, all variations on a single theme: blue.

Things are changing, shifting, winding down. Chapters ending, which is always sad. Maybe it's this time of year that makes me feel nostalgic, wishing I could freeze frame the small things that make me feel lucky, and happy. Immy and the boys next door playing, them letting her win because they are so much older than her and the gentlest of souls. Watching her walk early in the morning to my parents, summer pajamas and an umbrella and bare feet and bed hair. Finding things she has squirreled away absolutely everywhere - crystals in my slippers, snails in her toy teapot, hair clips and bottle tops in my handbag. Concerts and dancing and singing out loud in the car.

As for me, I'm officially all holidayed out for now. Happy to be home and looking forward to Immy's birthday, and Christmas and lazy hot summer days.

Settling in. Slowing down. Holding on to our Mauritian Smiles.

~ m