After nearly three months in the mountains, and with the prospects of a two week march break (two, not one!) ahead of us, we booked a last minute get away to a spot near Playa Del Carmen ( to get some R&R and re-group as a family. It was a beauty and I managed to snag a bit of time to sketch and paint in between swims, snorkels, tennis, mojitos….

Our landing was a wee rough and felt a lot like this:


We asked for a non-smoking room and got one. However, the vent connecting us with our neighbours negated that upon arrival.

room 19209

Saw this jolly sole every day at one of the bars on the swings and just had to draw him.


Resorts like the one we went to are forever bringing animals around to have your photo with. We never forked out the ransom to buy one so I painted them instead.


Scuba in the pool was way fun, despite not actually having an octopus present.


Quintuple pancake and nutella sandwich for breakfast? Yes please. Every morning…

(Our family is rather into the chocolate-ly goodness):


Pretty much every day I was the Red Hulk battling Hulk and Black Widow in the pool. It was awesome cuz it felt like what you see below. (#redhulk)


It’s true. I ate a ton of avocado.


When we’re in new places our family sometimes pretends to speak another language, to keep others guessing about the exotic location we come from. It’s pure gibberish and we’ve nicknamed it “Gravy Talk” but when you keep it up for a bit, add in some laughter at just the right moment and shake your head in a “ummm-hmmm-i-know-just-what-you-mean” kind of way, it’s pretty convincing. And yes, I know we’re weird.


Happy Holidays to All!



A couple more from the islands



There is no better call in sports…squirreligauana


Canadian park animal meets Ecuadorian park animal.


We were extremely fortunate to enjoy an incredible family adventure in the Galapagos the past two weeks. We booked with International Expeditions and lived for 8 days on the Explorer, a 32 passenger boat with 18 wonderful crew members. I sketched when I could and busted out the watercolours where possible though drawing and painting on a rolling ship proved challenging. I’ve posted a few of my drawings below.



Our plane was delayed from so we missed our connection in Bogota and wound up having to spend a night there. We befriended some other Canadians and a kind Venezuelan woman whose name I never did get.



In Guayaquil Ecaudor, we visited a park that was full of iguanas. The above seriously happened…

first night

Our first night was anchored off of San Cristobal. The boat rocked so badly that plates and glasses fell and smashed. I barfed 8 times. It was brutal but thankfully by noon the next day I was out snorkelling and was never ill again (insert Gravol plug here).



Marine iguanas eat the vegetation in the ocean and have a special ecological adaptation that allows them to snort the salt out of their system through glands connected to their nostrils. Very cool.

alex boli


We were lucky to have three incredible naturalists with us. They were fantastic with the kids and tolerant of the slow learning adults.


The boat hotel manager was a lovely man from Quito who gently woke us every morning for our daily adventures. He never said this, but I’m convinced he wanted to.


Being mindful of one’s ecological footprint is naturally top of mind when visiting the islands and this meant no toilet paper in the toilet. That was a tough one.

kayak snorkel

Shark hunting was a favourite activity. We saw dozens of white tip reef sharks, six Galapagos sharks and I was lucky enough to see seven hammerheads (the prized find!). The waters were often rough though and we joked about the calm snorkelling conditions.


We travelled with a wonderful group of people that were so accommodating with the kids and terrific boat companions. We often got excited in our efforts to spot sea turtles, eagle rays and sharks and rocks were a real tease at times.

Final thoughts on the holidays…

love santa



free presents

Merry Christmas!



Christmas Freaky Eve



Fast Santa