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

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

The Everglades, Keys and Fort Lauderdale…

Of all the times that we have travelled to Florida, we have never quite managed to make it to the Everglades or The Keys. We always seem to become swept up in the lights of Orlando and the beaches in North Florida. I think that there’s just so much to do and explore that we always seem to run out of time. Anyway, on this occasion, we decided to fly to Miami and explore the southern part of the sunshine state.

Our first stop was The Everglades, a gorgeous national park oozing with wildlife and greenery. We went on an airboat tour from The Everglades Holiday Park . The airboat was super fun and our host very knowledgeable. I loved feeling the wind in my hair and looking out for gators. Luckily we managed to spot quite a few on our trip. They are such majestic creatures and I feel like I learnt a lot about them from our trip. The only downside to the airboat tour was the part at the end where you have the option to hold a baby gator. It had its mouth tied shut and I just felt like it was completely unnecessary. Nobody needs to hold an alligator and the poor little thing must have felt terribly vulnerable. That being said, I would still highly recommend the boat tour and I think that overall they have good intentions with the wildlife.

Next stop was a trip to Key Largo. I had heard how dreamy the Keys are, but I didn’t imagine that they would be quite so lush. I immediately fell in love with the chilled atmosphere, crystal clear sea and how genuinely beautiful they are. The sea was warm and inviting. Possibly the clearest sea I have ever seen and still as a Polaroid. I could see fish everywhere and it was just so, so lovely. We found a little hidden beach tucked away behind some (also dreamy) houses and just existed there for a while. The winter has felt terribly long (and appears to be never ending – snow over Easter, say what?!), it was so, so nice to soak up the sun and feel it on my skin. I loved walking around in flip flops and a sundress. The temperatures were 27/28 degrees every day and it was absolutely divine. What a treat.

Continuing our beach theme, we headed over to Fort Lauderdale for a sunset stroll on the beach followed by dinner at a restaurant with live music that kisses the coastline. We also had a look around the shops. Fort Lauderdale is quite lively in the evenings, so I would definitely recommend a visit.

Have you visited Southern Florida?

L x

Budapest Day One – Széchenyi Spa and a Christmas dinner cruise…

For Christmas 2017 we decided to head on over to Budapest to experience Christmas abroad for the first time. We’ve never been away for Christmas and felt like it was a good time as we don’t have children nor do we have giant families where Christmas is a big deal. We chose to visit Budapest because some of our friends have travelled there and our wonderful neighbours are Hungarian and they recommended it. Anyway, fast forward to Christmas Eve and we were riding high in the sky with Rudolph on our way to a festive adventure.

I had made some loose plans of things to do and had decided that on Christmas Day we would head on over to Széchenyi Spa for a relaxing afternoon. We walked to the Spa from our hotel through a pretty park with incredible architecture and an ice rink. The sun was shining and it was so lovely.

We stopped off at Vajdahunyad Castle on our way to the Spa, it’s so, so gorgeous and definitely worth a visit. It was when we were wandering around by the castle that we spotted a little restaurant that served burgers. Scrumptious burgers that were rather sizeable. We stopped for lunch and grabbed a hot chocolate to go. I would definitely recommend the little restaurant with the big burgers!

The spa was really fun although in all honesty I did find it a little dirty feeling. I just felt that it was a bit grimy in places and that I needed a good scrub after. It was a really fun place though with so much to do from your own private hot tub with a beer tap, through to saunas and massages. It’s a great place.

In the evening we took a dinner river cruise that I booked through Viator. It was amazing, the cruise was beautiful with all of the gorgeous buildings that line the river all lit up. Super pretty. The boat was really lovely and festive too. There was a band playing and it was a wonderful evening. I ate too much and others drank too much (seriously there was a 14 year old boy on our table that knocked back two glasses of champers and two glasses of rose in forty minutes) and it was a lovely end to our first Christmas away. Sadly I didn’t take many photographs, but I can assure you that pictures wouldn’t have done the lush views justice anyway. I would highly recommend the dinner river cruise!

Have you visited Budapest?

L x

That Vegas sign and the Grand Canyon…

We were lucky to be spending a few days in Vegas and I was so excited to show Phil’s Dad all of my favourite places in and around Las Vegas. 

Of course our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to that sign. I mean are you even in Vegas if you haven’t stood in a queue in forty degree heat waiting for your turn to have a photograph taken without a stag do in the background?!

Day or night, there’s always a queue (and often either a topless lady or Elvis impersonator) surrounding that bright sign in the middle of the road, although my top tip would be to go in the morning if you can, I think it definitely gets busier as the day goes on.

Anyway, I’m a fan of the sign and it was definitely a must stop place to take Phil’s Dad. I was pleased that we managed to take him!

Vegas is also famed for its shotgun weddings (think Britney in the early noughties), and there are so many little chapels dotted around the place, they are to some quite tacky, but I personally think they are quite cute and offer an alternative to the traditional weddings that we are accustomed to. In all honesty, I quite fancied getting married in Vegas myself, but Phil wanted all of our family there and it wasn’t an option for them to travel. Never mind!

We had a good old mooch around the strip whilst melting in the oven-like temperatures that fall on Vegas during the summer months. I just love looking at all of the elaborate buildings. It’s such a vibrant place!

Once we had had enough of the colours along the strip, we returned to New York, New York for a dip in the pool and jacuzzi. I remember thinking how funny it was that the jacuzzi felt cool in the dizzy temperatures of around 46. Anyway, we read, danced around in the pool and hung out in the jacuzzi until it was time to dry off and wait for our taxi to catch our helicopter.

I really love riding in helicopters. I just find them so fun and the views are breathtaking. Floating above the Earth is just magical and I would highly recommend travelling by helicopter to the Grand Canyon if you can. 

We’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice now and we’ve used Papillon both times. Sure, it can work out quite pricey, but in my opinion it beats sitting with a coach load of people for a few hours. I’ve seen that there is a company offering ‘doors off’ tours, which I would love to do because I think that sounds super fun.

Anyway, on this occasion we went at sunset and it was such a treat. The temperature was slightly lower which made it much more comfortable than when we visited in the blistering heat. It also made this trip a completely different experience, watching the sun kissing the tips of the Grand Canyon as we sipped on champagne and looked down at the river. 

The GC is such a magnificent place, so untouched with warm browny red tones. It’s really peaceful (even with the helicopters) and I just love reflecting on our gorgeous world there.

Have you visited the Grand Canyon?

L x

Our day at Aquatica…

Dress: it was my Mum’s in the 90’s!

Sunglasses: classic Ray Bans

Phil and I love water parks, so I was quite excited when I found one in San Diego.

Owned by SeaWorld, Aquatica has a few rides, a wave pool and a lazy river.

The lazy river is my absolute favourite thing to hang out on at a water park because I just find it so relaxing.

Phil and I visited the water parks at Disneyworld last year, so my expectations were quite high. Unfortunately, I didn’t rate Aquatica too highly. Sure it was fun and all, but it’s actually quite small and two of the rides were closed which was a shame as it was peak season and they only have about 7 to start with!

I was also disappointed by their changing rooms. You couldn’t have a proper shower and the lockers were located far away from the changing facilities, which was super annoying. At the Disney parks, everything is really convenient and you can actually get ready properly afterwards, which is great if you aren’t going straight back to the hotel.

Anyway, I think that Aquatica is fun, but could definitely be better.

Which water parks do you rate?

L x

Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland…

‘Are you going to see the Northern Lights?’ Is the question we were asked countless times when we said we were going to Iceland. The answer was always the same ‘hopefully’. 

In all honesty, I wasn’t fully aware of how it really is a game of luck when going on a Northern Lights hunt until we were going on a Northern Lights hunt. Whilst they are always present, they aren’t always visible and there are so many conditions that can affect whether or not you will see them. Ideally you want a clear night and need to be away from the city in order to avoid too much light pollution. The Northern Lights are beautiful, mysterious forces of nature and are completely uncontrollable. You can hazard a guess at where you might see them, but even if you’ve seen them there before, it’s not guaranteed. 

We booked our excursion through Reykjavik Excursions, who were absolutely brilliant. They were always on time and had free wifi on their transport too – hurrah! The staff were always very informative and their Northern Lights tour was great value. The best part being that if you don’t see the Northern Lights, you can come again another night free of charge. There was a lady on our tour who had tried four nights running. 

We made our way to the meeting point and I had looked at the weather as well as  the chances of seeing the lights. It looked okay and I crossed my fingers. I had booked it for the second night of our trip in the hope that if we were unlucky at first, we could try again every night until we found ourselves thrown back to England. Soon enough we were on a bus out of Reykjavik and into the uninhabited depths of Icelandic countryside. Pretty much as soon as we started out snow began to fall and I resided myself to the fact that cloud cover meant poor visibility for the Northern Lights. Ever the optimist, I crossed every part of my body and hoped that we would see them. Partly because I wanted to experience the gorgeous display, and partly because it was blimmin’ freezing and I didn’t want to drag myself out in sub zero temperatures every night of our trip (I know, what a bore!). 

We were driving along a dark road when suddenly the bus took a right turn and we found ourselves on the edge of a mountain and were told that they would be visible from this point. I was so completely excited. We jumped off of the bus and started gazing into the night sky. The snow had stopped and the night was clearer. I absorbed the navy sky and luckily enough observed a vibrant green stripe dancing. It was so magical, a natural light display. Soon enough another one appeared and another until I had seen too many to count. At times they would disappear for a few moments and we would think it was over, only for them to reappear in a spectacle of wonder and colour. I loved how they moved. They moved like they were dancing to the tune of the universe and carefree. Although it was absolutely positively freezing, for about twenty minutes none of that mattered. Just the beauty of the night. Here are a couple of shots from my phone…


When I realised that I could no longer feel my entire body, we hopped back onto the coach and back to Reykjavik, taking away our new memories. I feel so, so lucky that we saw them on our first night and would highly recommend it if you get the chance.

Have you been to Iceland? Have you seen the Northern Lights?

L x