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

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

Travelling alone for the first time and visiting Boston…

Just before Christmas I received a lovely letter from one of my uni pals suggesting that we have a reunion with another friend of ours who lives in Boston. The three of us were super close during our time at university and despite each of us living on a different continent, we’ve managed to stay in touch. I last saw Cindy in January 2017 whilst we were visiting Hong Kong, and the last time we were all together was at my wedding in the summer of 2015.

Anyway, it worked out that the three of us would be Stateside at the same time (during our trip to Florida), so it made sense for me to leave the boys down south and hop on a flight to see my buddies for a couple of days.

I had never flown alone before simply because the occasion hadn’t arisen. I always go on holiday with Phil and as we met so young, I had only been on holiday with family beforehand.

I wasn’t nervous or worried about flying alone, I love travelling and am used to the flight experience. I thought that it might feel weird, but it was absolutely fine. I was sat with a nice lady who lived in Fort Lauderdale and was also travelling to see friends. I had a little nap, read an issue of Vogue and before I knew it, I was in Boston.

As we descended into Boston, the pilot announced that the temperature was 26. I thought it was odd that it appeared to be as warm as southern Florida before realising he had meant 26 Fahrenheit. It was actually minus 3. It’s so crazy to think that just a three hour flight can take you somewhere so different.

Luckily for me, my kind friend Heidi met me at the airport with her super cute little boy Jasper. We went shopping and ate lots of food with her husband Ian and then returned to the airport to meet Cindy.

It was so lovely to be reunited and we immediately went to a dessert lounge in Quincy for a catch up before turning in at Heidi’s for the night.

Have you travelled alone before?

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

Preparing for a long haul flight…

I know so many people who find flying absolutely terrifying. In all honesty, when you think about it, it is a scary thought being catapulted thousands of feet into the air, your life in the hands of the aircrew. I, however, absolutely adore flying. Maybe it’s the fact that I associate it with heading to a new land for exploration or maybe it’s because I love lounging around watching movies, stuffing my face and reading. Who knows?! Either way I know that I’m pretty happy at 38,000 feet. I have a little routine where I always unpack my books, sweets, hand sanitizer and headphones into the pouch in front before taking off my shoes and snuggling down for the ride. I also like a sneaky peek at the duty free booklet, although I rarely find anything I fancy!

A few weeks ago a dear friend of mine started to prepare for her flight to Mauritius and mentioned that she had been thinking about what was needed when you’re in it for the long haul.

I was also on the verge of flying stateside at that time and it made me think about the little things I do when flying.

To be honest, what I take with me is very similar whether it’s a long haul or a short haul, my hand luggage contents are pretty much the same because for me it’s more about having my must haves to hand rather than longevity.

Here’s my on board checklist:

  • A good hand luggage bag. This may sound obvious, but one that’s a good size (I can’t travel light!) my hubby uses a backpack which is handy as it has lots of pockets
  • A smaller pouch to house ready to grab items such as your passport, booking confirmations and foreign currency
  • Books. I am an avid reader and love using the time on the plane to delve deeper into a book
  • A spare outfit. My hubby has mocked me about this for years but I always take a spare outfit in case we get delayed and land up shacked up in a hotel without our hold luggage. This happened to a family we met in Orlando and they spent 48 hours in the same clothes. Not cool. It was also handy when the hubby had a nosebleed during take off from Hawaii and was unable to leave his seat to go to the bathroom. See, practical. I was very smug about planning ahead!
  • Food. I’m such a glutinous pig that I can’t go long without food. If I do I simply morph into a gremlin and it’s not fun for anyone. Therefore as a preventative measure, I always have a chocolate stash.
  • Laptop/tablet. Just in case you aren’t fancying the in flight entertainment. 
  • Valuables. I never leave valuables in my suitcase, so transport them in my hand luggage. Call me irrational, but I’ve had my case broken into and I’m pretty sure if there was anything of any value inside, it would no longer be in my possession.
  • Hand sanitizer. I’m super funny about germs and let’s be honest, flying is a form of public transport where germs are floating around in abundance. I’m certainly not tucking into my chocolate stash without clean hands.
  • Make up bag. Just to freshen up upon arrival.
  • Eye mask. I try and sleep on most flights because I find it helps with jet lag, so I always pack an eye mask.

For me, I think my absolute essential would be my eye mask. I love pulling it over my eyes and shutting the world out. It can be tricky to sleep on a flight and I find the eye mask really helps. I think it’s a good idea to sleep if you can, especially if it’s long haul as it makes you feel a bit more human the other end!

Are you jetting off anywhere soon?

What are your travel essentials?

L x