Exploring the mountain and a day at the spa…

I do love a spa day so I was quite keen to incorporate one into our Canadian trip. We visited the Blue Lagoon in Iceland a couple of years ago and being outside in the warm water surrounded by snow was amazing so I thought that it would be nice to have a similar experience in the Blue Mountains.

Not too far from Collingwood resides Scandinave Spa, a luscious haven of relaxation. Apparently it gets booked up quite quickly but luckily I booked a couples massage and spa entry in advance to secure our slot. It wasn’t until the afternoon though, so we spent the morning exploring the snow covered area around the Blue Mountains.

We certainly weren’t disappointed as we were completely spoilt with gorgeous views and untouched snow. It was also a lovely, sunny day and I regretted not bringing any sunglasses. I can really see why people fall in love with Canada. I definitely left a tiny part of my soul right on the top of the Blue Mountains.

Soon enough it was time to head on over to the spa. The location is absolutely incredible, surrounded by woodland it was really tranquil.

We had a warm welcome from the staff, one of which highlighted how lucky we are to have cheap cheese here in the UK – who knew?!

We then popped on our robes and headed over to the treatment room for our hour long massage. It was divine and we felt super refreshed after.

There are lots of zones to explore and I loved the sun rooms which had floor to ceiling windows and loungers. I read quite a few magazines in three of the rooms and it was nice to just exist for a bit.

The pools were also beautiful and clean. I loved the hot pools but didn’t bother with the cooler ones. I think I would have frozen over!

In the evening we went to a steakhouse in Downtown Collingwood and had a feast. The food was delicious and we reflected on what wonderful we were having.

Have you visited the Blue Mountain/ Collingwood area?

L x

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My first time skiing! …

Phil has been desperate to try his hand at skiing for years but to be honest, it’s never really been high on my wanderlust list. However, when we realised that we could incorporate skiing into our Canadian trip, we booked a lodge at the Blue Mountain resort and off we went.

I’m not a very athletic person and whilst I enjoy dancing and *some* exercise, I’m more of a creative kinda girl and things like skiing don’t come naturally to me. I know that it’s due to a block installed by my mind because physically I can do adrenaline junkie activities as well as high energy stuff but in my mind I get scared and won’t allow myself to fall out of my comfort zone.

Phil on the other hand, is literally amazing at anything he sets his mind on. I went ice skating with him once and he said he had been a couple of times as child but there he was skating backwards and spinning in circles like a figure skater in training whilst I clung to the railing for dear life.

Let’s just say that I knew before we arrived in the Blue Mountains that Phil was going to excel at skiing and I would be going at a much slower pace.

We signed up for skiing lessons and were fortunate to have an amazing instructor called Sean. He really took the time and patience (especially with me) but also challenged us when we needed challenging. It played out exactly as I thought it would with Phil morphing into Eddie Eagle within minutes and me taking an hour to grasp stopping (pizza shape for the win).

I was fine putting the skis on and balancing around on them. I was also fine climbing the nursery slope sideways. The problem came when I slipped at the top and whizzed past Phil and Sean shouting ‘it was an accident’ before Sean saving me from a near death fall into an icy pond (literally two inches from the edge!). From then on my progress was stunted and I must have climbed up that slope sideways fifty million times before I felt like I had good control stopping. Anyway, after that it felt good and I began to enjoy it a little more and felt confident.

We spent quite a bit of time in the village that day and enjoyed Italian food, s’mores hot chocolate and poutine. It was great.

We were also lucky with the weather, we had heavy snow the night before and heavy snow all day. Whilst it made visibility a bit pants (at one point I could barely see three metres ahead), it did make for great skiing conditions.

After our first day, we returned knackered but optimistic about our next trip on the slopes.

Have you tried skiing?

L x

Road trip to the Blue Mountains resort…

When planning our trip to Canada there was one activity that we were desperate to squeeze in – skiing. I had never tried skiing before and was almost certain that I wouldn’t be very good at it, but we like to try new things and Phil was especially keen to give it a go.

It was tricky to find a place that would be open so late in the season (April) and we weren’t certain that we could go until a couple of weeks beforehand due to the weather. Luckily for us we were able to ski and I found a place that seemed perfect – The Blue Mountain Resort.

It’s just a couple of hours north of Toronto, and the drive was lovely. Lots of Canadian farmland complete with traditional barns and farmhouses. I loved just looking out of the window at the beautiful countryside.

We stopped a couple of times, once at an outlet mall near Barrie and once in Barrie itself to look at the gorgeous frozen lake. It was breathtakingly beautiful (and freezing, absolutely freezing).

Once we arrived in the Blue Mountains, we picked up the keys to our lodge which was really cute and quiet due to it being so late in the season and post spring break.

We went for dinner and a mooch about the village, which has a variety of shops and restaurants. We also went for a drive to the lake so that Phil could get some drone shots but it was really windy which isn’t great for droning.

It then started snowing heavily which we were excited about because fresh snow is great for skiing!

Have you been to the Blue Mountains?

L x

Exploring Toronto and visiting the CN Tower…

Once again we were blessed with beautiful weather which was just perfect for exploring more of Toronto by foot. I’m such a fan of walking my way around cities because you can really take it all in and feel a part of the commotion. We often discover new eateries and pretty places that we would never have seen if we were in the car.

One of the most iconic buildings in Toronto is the CN Tower. It dominates the skyline and offers amazing views of the city. We knew it was a must visit place whilst in Toronto. It was reasonably priced and a nice activity which took around an hour and a half to get around. They have a gift shop that has some cute souvenirs too.

Toronto is a bustling city that is full of life and there is so much to do. Chinatown is great and a decent size, Kensington market is quirky and super cool with eateries, vintage shops and art. It has a Camden vibe and is lovely and colourful.

We also found lots of places to shop, the Eaton Centre is packed with big brands.

Most of all, I enjoyed existing amongst the tall buildings and architecture that told a tale. I liked looking up at skyscrapers, picking out my favourite houses on residential roads and finding cool street art. It was a wonderful day exploring.

Have you visited Toronto?

L x

Visiting Niagara Falls…

We woke up in our rental penthouse to a beautiful sun kissed skyline and gorgeous blue skies. I’m never a lover of grey days which we have so many of in England and it was so refreshing to have such lush weather.

I had been dreaming of visiting Niagara Falls since I was small and with it only being an hour or so away from Toronto, it was top of our list. So after heading to Starbucks for breakfast (we are in the habit of having Starbucks for breakfast whenever we are on holiday), we jumped in the car and sped off towards Niagara.

The drive was pleasant and we were all in awe of Lake Ontario as we drove alongside it. The lakes are actually incredible, so vast and naturally beautiful.

We found a car park near Niagara Falls that was only ten dollars for the day (I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I loved the exchange rate whilst we were away. Everything felt almost half price!). We then had a short hop, skip and jump to the Falls.

My goodness, they didn’t disappoint! What an incredible place. The experience was most delightful, hearing the water crashing down, seeing the ice covered rocks and watching the sun highlight the current. It was really special.

After we had soaked up the falls, we stopped for lunch (a quick bite at Tim Horton’s – hello chicken croissant!), we mooched around the souvenir shops and quirky tourist attractions. It was around the colourful main area (which felt a teeny bit like Vegas on a miniature scale), that we found the upside down house. It doesn’t cost very much to get in, but I think seeing the house from the outside is just as exciting and a great photo op!

Soon it was time for us to drive back to Toronto, but we stopped a couple of times on the way back. The first to investigate this awesome ship wreck and the second to do a spot of shopping at the Premium Outlet. My goodness the Mall was savage. I didn’t acknowledge that with it being Easter Sunday, most places are closed. This resulted in every man and his dog rocking up to the premium outlet because Simon malls appear to be open pretty much every day. We had to queue to get into some shops (including Kate Spade, which was totally worth it) and it was worse than the Boxing Day sales at Westfield. Anyway after that traumatic experience, we headed back for burritos from the Fat Bastard Burrito company and a well deserved rest!

Have you visited Niagara Falls?

L x

Arriving in Toronto…

Canada had been on our ‘to visit’ list for a while and when I spotted cheap flights from London to Toronto over Easter (£500 Direct!), we jumped at the chance to go.

We flew with Air Transat and I must say that it was generally a pleasant experience. They had a nice selection of movies and edible food so all in all it was a success.

The only small issue we had was waiting almost two hours for our baggage to appear at Toronto Pearson because ground staff took forever to unload it.

After we finally collected our baggage, we headed over to the rental car collection place across the road where I was greeted with gale force icy winds and rain. It was at this point that I wondered if we should have gone to the Caribbean instead. However, my mood was greatly boosted when we got a free upgrade on our rental car and found ourselves in a nice all wheel drive instead of the saloon car we had booked.

The drive from the airport to our centrally located rental penthouse took around half an hour. We were then blown away by the gorgeous views from the penthouse before popping out to Poutini’s for some, er, Poutine. I had it with pulled pork and it was totes delish!

We then chilled out in a jet lagged haze and I was excited to see what Toronto had to offer.

Have you visited Toronto?

L x

A pupdate on little Ivy…

It’s been almost six months since Ivy moved in and honestly they have completely flown by. This little fair haired fur ball has stolen our hearts and forced everyone who meets her to fall in love in that half a year.

Her little personality is really prominent now and she has grown to weigh exactly 3kg. It’s unlikely that Ivy will grow much bigger now as she is almost eight months old. Ivy loves running and exploring. We’ve all spent more time in the garden with the warmer weather and lighter days. Ivy likes to potter about in my flowerbeds, batting blossoms with her little nose. She also likes following ants and is obsessed with a family of wood lice that she has found living under a plant pot.

We have stopped attending puppy club and puppy training because Ivy is getting older and doesn’t need to go. Socially, she is fantastic and loves everyone and all animals. We always find it amusing when she bounds over to a large dog when out on a walk. Ivy is often the size of their ear!

Her other favourite thing to do is open the doors to the gym at our local park so that the receptionists coo over her. She definitely likes attention!

Her bond with Holly is quite sweet, they enjoy grooming each other and snuggling together. Holly even indulges Ivy in play sometimes, although I think she still finds her younger sibling a little annoying.

We recently had Ivy spayed which I was awfully worried about as when Holly was spayed she was poorly for two weeks. I was just concerned with how Ivy would cope but I needn’t have worried, she was back to her normal self after one day!!! We are currently trying to keep her calm during recovery although it is proving terribly troublesome. Can a puppy even be calm for ten days?!

In terms of her separation anxiety, it’s definitely improved massively since we returned from Canada. We haven’t created her and just let her have run of the house with Holly. It’s been great as she doesn’t get upset anymore and even relaxes enough to sleep whilst we are out. I’m so pleased!

My friend spotted this tote whilst out shopping and bought it for me. I laughed so much when I saw it. It’s literally like they have put my dog on a bag.

We also DNA tested Ivy to find out wha breed she is and were shocked by the results. Everyone always assumes that Ivy is a Chihuahua, but nobody has ever suggested Yorkshire Terrier. I loved reading her report from Wisdom Panel, I felt like it was quite comprehensive and gave us a bit more of her history. We were never worried about what breed she actually was but mostly curious because we could tell that Ivy wasn’t a pure Jack Russell like her advert suggested.

L x

Book review: Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham…

I have been a fan of Lena Dunham ever since Girls starting gracing our screens. Her natural, raw talent radiates through and you can tell that she’s really genuine.

I like people who are open and honest, which Lena certainly is (perhaps even an over-sharer!). So I was excited to read Not That Kind of Girl.

Overall, I really enjoyed this tell-all book from Lena. I liked how raw it is and that Lena is a happy non conformist. However, I do think that there’s a lot of people who won’t ‘get’ her or her story. I feel that this is both a positive and negative trait. I think it’s important in life to not do things because it’s how people expect you to, but more out of the love and passion that you have, which is what Lena has done. I think if you don’t ‘get’ Lena, it might be quite hard going as a book.

There are so many pros, the writing is great, her honesty is refreshing and overall I really feel like I understand her better.

The cons would be that it will appeal to more of a niche market rather than the masses and at times it can be a little emotionally draining.

I would definitely recommend giving it a go and deciding for yourself!

Have you read anything recently?

L x

Countryside walks…

One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is jump in the car and drive towards rolling hills of countryside. We are fortunate enough to live a short drive away from the green belt so it’s super easy to be transported from hustle and bustle to tranquility.

We recently bought a drone for Phil, the DJI Mavic Air and have found a few spots seemingly in the middle of nowhere that are idealistic for flying.

We are all quite fond of a stroll through the fields and I love the sense of reconnection that I get. I spent quite a bit of time playing outside as a child and have always loved being in the fresh air, although I much prefer dry sunny days to grey wet ones!

I think that it’s so easy to be swept up in everyday life and living through a screen so I like to use my dog walking time to just live in the moment. I try not to look at my phone (although I sometimes sneak in an insta story or two!) and just exist. I like to watch the happiness filling my fur babies faces, the birds and the trees. I find that I feel super chilled after our daily stroll.

I am very much looking forward to the sun kissed warmer days where I won’t need wellies for a country walk!

Where’s your favourite place to walk?

L x

Miami South Beach…

I really enjoyed our stay in Miami, everything from the warm sunshine kissing our ghostly pale winter skin to the gorgeous pastel painted Art Deco buildings lining the streets. Miami was a real treat.

I feel like you can’t visit Miami without having a day at the beach. The beaches are just divine with powdery sand and ‘water so clear you can see to the bottom’ (thanks Will Smith). So on a sunny Sunday in February we hit up the infamous South Beach.

The atmosphere was great – everyone was out from families to girl gangs and people who looked like they were taking a break from a Men’s Health photo shoot. People were having picnics, playing music and generally just frolicking. I love a beach day and couldn’t wait to slip into my new Seafolly swimsuit, however, there wasn’t a changing facility in sight! So I landed up hiding behind a little shed with Phil holding a towel whilst I shimmied my starkers body into the new cozzie. I can assure you it wasn’t my finest moment, but completely worth it for a swim in that turquoise sea.

I must also mention that somehow I got fried despite wearing factor 50! Although luckily it turned to tan, which almost never happens. I’m not sure if the sun was extra strong that day or my winter skin so pale after a few months of cloud, either way I definitely returned home with a holiday glow!

I also introduced Phil and his Dad to Texas Roadhouse where we had amazing bread (seriously it’s so good), drank sangria and generally stuffed our faces whilst watching birthday go-ers mount a wooden horse. It was grand.

In the evening we went to a bar along the water which was a really nice end to a really nice day.

Have you visited South Beach?

L x