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

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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

Arriving in Miami…

I had been looking forward to exploring Miami for months, dreaming of beautiful beaches, silky sunshine and bright blue skies. Miami always appeared as such a glamorous place and I couldn’t wait to see what it had to offer so after our trip to Orlando, we drove down south to Miami.

The drive took around four hours with a stop for lunch. It was pretty straight forward with no traffic. We checked into our hotel which was located along the waterfront and had gorgeous views which I was quite excited about!

We decided to go for a sunset stroll along the beach in the evening. It was so pretty with the pastel coloured lifeguard huts and sand dunes. There is was also a cat colony which was amazing, so many kitties!

There’s something really tranquil about being at the beach around sunset. The colour palette changes entirely and the crowds disperse. It makes me feel super chill!

Have you visited Miami?

L x

Visiting Volcano Bay for the first time and a trip to the mall…

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is shop. It’s funny because I don’t actually go shopping at home very often at all. Sometimes weeks would have passed without me popping into town for a nose at the shops. Online shopping is another matter, I’m rather partial to online shopping. Anyway, whilst on holiday, Phil and I love shopping. Sometimes things are cheaper abroad, but mostly it’s because you can find things that are a little bit different to back home. Anyway, when Stateside we adore a trip to the Mall and if there’s an outlet nearby then even better!

When Phil and I were last in Orlando, we found an outlet Mall just under 2 miles from Universal Studios. We visited a few times during the ten days that we were there and picked up some treats, so knew that we wanted to visit again on this occasion.

We had a great time, I picked up some gorgeous summer clothes from American Eagle as well as the dreamiest Kate Spade bag. I love Kate Spade and this quirky bag was such a bargain. I was super pleased!

After we had exhausted the Mall, we popped over to Volcano Bay at Universal. I had been desperate to go since it opened last summer and it did not disappoint!

I’m such a fan of the Disney waterparks and I had a good feeling about the Universal one as their parks are really well put together.

It’s a bit awkward to get to as you have to take their shuttle bus from Universal Studios. I found this a bit annoying to be honest and would have much rather driven there ourselves. We had to wait for a while on the way there as well as the way back. We also went out of peak season, so I imagine it’s worse in the summer.

The park itself is fantastic, really well themed with the iconic volcano in the centre of the action. There are so many rides and the rapids are the best that I have ever been on.

One big issue that I had with was the Tapu Tapu queue system. Originally I thought that it was fantastic, but if you visit the park after midday (like we did), a lot of the rides are already fully booked for the rest of the day. This kinda sucked as we didn’t get to go on as many as we liked. I would therefore recommend that you go early and tap in to any that you are set on riding.

After a busy day shopping and visiting Volcano Bay, we headed over to Disney Springs to try out the Star Wars Void experience. It was fantastic and we had so much fun. It was well thought out and immersive. I would definitely recommend it.

What are your favourite things to do in Orlando?

L x

Visiting Universal Studios, Florida…

Orlando is well known for being the theme park capital of the world. From the gigantic Disneyworld right through to Busch Gardens, there really is something for everyone. With so much to do and being completely spoilt for choice, it’s hard to formulate a plan to include it all. In the few times that we have visited Orlando, only once have we managed to squeeze in both Universal and Disneyworld. On this occasion, we only had time for Universal, which I wasn’t hating on because who doesn’t adore a trip to Universal Studios?!

I’ve only been to Universal in Hollywood and the one in Florida. Both have a completely different feel and whilst I like Hollywood’s take, I love Universal in Florida. I think that it’s because it is that much bigger, spread out and quite unique. Their entire Harry Potter sections are great and I love all of the HP themed rides. There are also more shows over in Florida and the Hulk rollercoaster which is a firm favourite with Phil.

I think what I love the most about Universal in Florida is the memories. How magical it was on our first visit years ago. Lounging in the sunshine shovelling chocolate flies into my mouth with my gal pal whilst waiting for the boys. Realising that The Mummy ride is different in Florida compared to Hollywood. The memories are definitely my favourite part.

We had such a nice time revisiting rides we have ridden many times and trying out new additions (we were all disappointed with the new Jimmy Fallon simulator). I like how detailed Universal Studios is as well as the variety on offer. Plus they have a Panda Express in the food court at City Walk, so I can end my day stuffing my face with my favourite fast food place Stateside.

It’s never a goodbye when leaving Universal, always a ‘see you soon’ and I can’t wait until we go again.

Have you visited Universal Studios?

L x

Hanging out with my uni pals in Boston…

Friendships are funny things. You just meet another human, often by way of chance, decide you like each other and then continue to meet. There’s no pressure or obligation to form a genuine friendship it either happens or it doesn’t. Sometimes you grow apart and sometimes you grow closer together. There’s a variety of friendships. School friends, friends of friends, work friends, mum friends, hobby friends, family friends… But the best part is that it’s more often than not, organic and genuine. Family are great, but ultimately you are kinda thrown together with an unwritten obligation to tolerate each other regardless of whether or not you actually like one another simply because you are ‘family’.

We all have different friends that cater for different needs. The friend you call in a crisis, the pal you meet up with and vent over dinner, the buddy who just makes life that little bit easier just by existing, the one who makes you laugh and the one who will always have your back. One of my favourite types of friendships are the ones that are timeless. The people who you can go months without talking to, years without seeing, but when you reunite it’s like no time has passed. The ones who are open and pure without boundaries. This type of friendship is the type that I’m lucky enough to share with my uni pals.

Logistically, it’s very tricky for us to meet up as we all live on different continents and lead completely different lives. But throw us together and we chat for hours, share similar views and have our own humour. It’s great. I love how openly we talk and that we trust each other implicitly. My gal pals are such warm, welcoming people and I love, love, love it when we can catch up.

The two days that I was in Boston, we ate lots of food, shopped and chatted pretty much the whole time and it was blimmin’ brilliant. I got to explore the city a little, but I wasn’t really bothered about getting under Boston’s skin. I just wanted to enjoy the time with my friends because it’s such a rarity for the three of us.

I’m so glad that we managed to meet up properly and I can’t wait until we can do it all again.

Do you have any long distance friendships?

L x