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

A birthday in Barcelona part 1…

I’m a big fan of a birthday holiday and this year for the big day itself, we decided to hop over to Barcelona for a few days. We had never been before and it seemed like a good place to get away from the grey days of London.

I can honestly say that we were pleasantly surprised the from the moment we arrived, we were overwhelmed with friendly people, gorgeous architecture and sunshine. What more could a girl want?

We drank Sangria (I’m now a HUGE fan), ate nice food and shopped all whilst taking in the beautiful city.

We were staying in between Las Ramblas and Eixample. I think it’s a great location for exploring and we had so much convenience on our doorstep.

Have you traveled to Barcelona?

L x

Budapest Day Two: Christmas Markets

On our second full day in Budapest, we had planned to mooch around the Christmas markets and perhaps do a spot of sale shopping, however, turns out shopping isn’t a thing in Budapest on Boxing Day- who knew?!

Luckily the Christmas markets were in full swing and were absolutely gorgeous. So cute and festive. I loved looking around at all of the handmade delights on offer.

We also stopped for cake and just enjoyed existing in such a pretty city.

It was much colder on Boxing Day, and a little cloudy but that didn’t stop us walking along the river and around the town. Even on a grey day Budapest is beautiful.

How did you spend Boxing Day?

L x

Exploring Vegas and the weirdest dining experience ever…

Dress: Asos Sunglasses: Michael Kors Tabitha 

I’ve been to Vegas three times now and each time I’ve fallen deeper in love with this colourful world hidden in the desert. I just love all that it has to offer. I’m not a gambler or even remotely seedy, which is the reputation that precedes Vegas. I love having fun, seeing different things, eating delicious food, shopping and seeing shows. Vegas has all of this in abundance.

I think that it’s that ease of convenience that helps me adore the place so much. Everywhere is open late, you can walk along the strip (I’m a big fan of walking!). Basically the place is your oyster. You can go out pretty much anytime and always find something to do. 

Anyway, on our first full day in Vegas, we took Phil’s Dad Steve (or P Diddy as I like to call him), for a tour of the strip, weaving in and out of various hotels that are devoured in detail. We also went to the Fashion Show Mall which is one of my favourite places to shop in Vegas (they have a Topshop!). 

It was great to feel the warmth on my skin, which is something I’m really missing now that autumn has set in. We took in the sights of the strip before heading Downtown.

I really like going Downtown because I find it a little bit raw. It’s not quite as glitzy and it just oozes retro charm. It’s more humble and less crowded and I just love the neon.

There’s a fair bit to do Downtown too, including zip lining, which I really wanted to do, however, I was inappropriately dressed for it! Next time though…

We ate dinner Downtown at the Heart Attack Grill, which I can only describe as the weirdest place I have ever eaten. I still can’t quite work out whether or not I enjoyed myself.

The hospital theme is really immersive, so we all sat there wearing hospital gowns awaiting our giant burgers and full calorie drinks (the waitress was unimpressed when I ordered a Diet Coke and announced that they don’t do diet there). 

They also have a policy where if you don’t finish your meal you get spanked. Hard. I couldn’t finish my burger and spent at least fifteen minutes freaking out about the spanking, coming up with irrational solutions such as hiding it in Phil’s rucksack or sneaking to the bin myself before realising that as it turns out, spanking isn’t compulsory. Who knew?

We then chilled out for a bit before heading back to New York, New York where we found a bar that had games (Beer Haus) so we spent the rest of the evening drinking and playing games such as Jenga.

Have you eaten at the Heart Attack Grill?

L x

Visiting Coronado in San Diego…

After our stint in Anaheim, we hopped in our little rental car and drove south to San Diego. It was our first time in San Diego and I was so excited to explore pastures new. I love visiting new places and we had been recommended Coronado as a nice place to visit. 

We were actually staying in Chula Vista, but Coronado was only a fifteen minute drive across the longest bridge known to man. 

Dress: Hollister Sunglasses: Vans

It was a bit cloudy when we arrived, but beautifully warm. We parked in an expensive car park ($20 for two hours 😳) and took a short walk to the infamous Coronado Hotel and beach.

The sand was some of the softest sand I have ever stepped on and such a treat. Honestly that beach is terribly divine. The views are lush too.

There’s also a little beach bar near the hotel where you can grab a cheeky cocktail and it’s just a lovely place. 

We also had a look around the shops and I picked up a couple of things and fell in love with the cutest little shop called Seaside Papery. They do beautiful prints and little things.

Coronado is super lush and definitely worth a visit. We had such a nice afternoon there.

Have you visited Coronado?

L x

Redondo Beach and travelling to Anaheim…

Dress: Hush Sunglasses: Vans (I’ve repurchased these 3 times in the past seven years, love them!)

After four gorgeous days based in Redondo Beach we packed our bags and moved into Anaheim, but not before a morning spent on the beach.

Redondo Beach is a really lovely place to chill out and embrace that LA Lifestyle. I love the outdoors way of life that comes hand in hand with the gorgeous climate Southern California delivers. From surfing, volleyball, bike riding, skating and running, it’s so easy to be active. 

We had a wonderful stroll where the sea meets the sand, allowing the waves to crash against our bare legs. I’m always at my happiest on the beach.

Sadly a Dead Sea lion washed up whilst we were there and the excellent coast guards came straight away and took it off of the shore. The lifeguards are phenomenal in California, I would say that they are arguably the best in the world. Always so alert and well equipped. They don’t just look out for folks drowning, but keep the entire Beach clean and safe.

Anyway, after our morning on the beach, we headed over to Anaheim in preparation for our Disney days. It was a super hot day, so we headed straight to the pool and hot tub (which felt extra hot!).

Later on we headed to the mall for a spot of shopping where I picked up some Bath & Body Works treats (I’m obsessed with that place) and a little black Kate Spade bag.

I then chilled out at the hotel whilst the boys went to the shooting range. I find the shooting range absolutely terrifying, so I prefer to stay at the hotel and relax. They had a ball though!

Have you visited Redondo Beach?

L x

A little trip to Amsterdam…

Amsterdam had been on my ‘list’ for a couple of years before we finally took a trip there last month.  I had heard so much about Amsterdam – bicycles, partying, fancy ladies and Anne Frank, so I had devised a vision of how I expected this liberal city to feel. I thought that its pulse would be loud and fast with party goers spilling out all over the streets and bicycles gently passing. I was wrong. Very wrong. For a start, sure there are places to party but I didn’t feel like high and drunk people were everywhere and in fact I rarely saw anybody who was either during our stay. The people that I did encounter were lovely, warm and welcoming to the city they call home. I felt like we really experienced the culture and were  lucky to stay at a cute B&B (Helmers) with super nice hosts. They even left a basket of bread and pastries on our doorstop at 8:15am every morning. Anybody who leaves me Pain aux Chocolates is a winner in my book. Especially if they are fresh from the bakery. I’ll literally love you forever.

Anyway, my other preconception regarding the bicycles was terribly wrong. They don’t simply glide along on vintage bicycles carrying a fresh bouquet of flowers with their hair gently flailing behind them. Oh no. They whizz past in packs, like tigers looking for their next meal. Crossing the road was treacherous and I was honestly so traumatised from the intensity of the cyclists that I didn’t dare join them on a jolly bike ride (I was actually really looking forward to cycling through the city before I arrived). 

The other thing that I was half expecting was to see scantily clad ladies hanging out in every other window but in fact we only saw a couple and most of the shop windows were home to many high street favourites such as Abercrombie and Urban Outfitters. Anyway we had a really lovely trip and I think that we both fell a little bit in love with this pretty little city.

Here’s what we got up to and my tips…

Visit Vondelpark.

We were staying a short walk from Vondelpark, which really is rather lovely. It reminded me a little of Regent’s Park with fitness enthusiasts running, dog walkers and those bicycles. Although I found that they travelled at a more leisurely pace through the park. I would really recommend a walk through the park if you get the chance. It’s just nice to have some greenery and escape the city. Plus it’s free, so great if you are on a budget.

Visit Van Gogh.

I would also recommend the Van Gogh Museum. The collection of his paintings displayed there is insane and it was great to see his work in the flesh as well as more personal items such as letters to his brother. My favourite piece was a couple of tubes of paint that he had used. I think that it made me appreciate how he created such incredible masterpieces from little tubes of paint. If you do visit the Van Gogh Museum, book your tickets in advance to save queuing. It’s super easy to do via their website.

Walk around the Anne Frank House.

We also visited the Anne Frank House which I was really excited about and had been the driving force for our trip. I’ve read Anne’s diary a couple of times and have always felt so moved by her story. I think that it’s so easy to become complacent and just take our lovely lives for granted and visiting the museum was a reminder that we are so, so lucky to live in the world that we live in. Sure it could be a lot better, but we’ve come a long way and we need to appreciate that. Anyway without getting political, I would really recommend the Anne Frank house. Tickets go on sale two months’ in advance and sell out quickly. Unfortunately we planned our trip short notice and had to queue for over three and a half hours to get in. It’s prebooked tickets only between 9:30 and 3:30 and then those who are queuing can enter after 3:30pm. We started queuing at 2:30pm and were let in around 6pm. It was freezing and I felt like it took me a week to warm up again!

Embrace the Heineken Experience.

This was an attraction that pleasantly surprised me. I’m not a massive beer drinker so I was thinking that this excursion probably wasn’t going to be my highlight. However, I actually really enjoyed this. It was great to learn about the history of Heineken as well as how it it made. It’s a very modern experience with lots of things to see and do. You can even have your own special bottle printed and you get free drinks – hurrah! We booked our tickets in advance so we pretty much just strolled right in. I think that people of all ages would enjoy this – even children!

Take a canal cruise.

We went on a little cruise around the canals and it was really nice to see the city from a different perspective. It was also very relaxing and I again something that I think people of all ages would enjoy.

Visit the A’Dam tower.

We took a trip over to the A’Dam Tower which is kinda opposite Centrale Station. It’s basically a really tall building that offers great views of the city. There is also a swing on the roof top that is the highest swing in Europe and actually goes over the edge. It’s €5 a turn and I would have loved to have had a go but unfortunately I didn’t as Phil is terribly scared of heights and it was pretty cold. So I decided that it probably wouldn’t be much fun in the cold on my own. Next time though! There’s also a totally instagrammable bar to hang out in and a really fun lift.

Go Shopping.

Let’s be honest, a trip to the shops is always on our list when we are away. I like picking up bits from my favourite brands as well as discovering new ones. On this trip I spotted a really cute striped shirt by Christian Berg. I don’t know much about this brand but I’ve never seen it in the U.K. and the quality seems good so I’m quite pleased. Anyway, Amsterdam is a great place to meander around the shops.

See a show.

We didn’t see a show during our stay, but I’ve heard there are some interesting ones around as well as familiar shows that you can find on the West End.

Have you been to Amsterdam? What would you recommend?

L x 

My favourite places to shop online…

  
Okay, I’ll admit it. I am head over heels in love with online shopping. I may even go so far as to say that I am slightly addicted to it. I adore the convenience, the fact that it’s open all hours and there is such a vast array of choice. Everything is readily available at the touch of a button, gifts, electronics, clothing. It’s all there in Internet glory, gasping to be bought. I think it’s amazing that I can have an idea about something, track it down and have it on its’ way within a few minutes. Oh what a time to be alive! No car park/finding the item in your size malarkey, it’s all there right at your fingertips. Another huge bonus is that you can see if they have your size as opposed to rummaging through rails before chasing down a shop assistant.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love an actual trip to the shops and sometimes you really just have to see the item in the flesh before committing to it. Not to mention it is sometimes nice to have a wander too. We particularly like doing this in the cold, grey months as shopping centres provide a haven from winter.

I now present to you my favourite online shops!

1. Oliver Bonas

They also have actual shops, but I adore perusing their online catalog. They have gorgeous items of home wear and also lovely clothing too.

2. Kate Spade

I’ve been a fan of Kate Spade for a couple of years now. I love the playful and fun style and am yet to find another designer who ticks the same boxes for me as Kate Spade does. I adore everything from the homewear to the handbags and drag my poor hubby into every single Kate Spade shop we pass by. 

3. Hush

I love the classic style of this company. Most of their products are simple, yet absolutely gorgeous. Think monochrome strappy tops and effortless dresses. I love the quality and the versatility of their items although they can be a bit on the pricey side.

4. Amazon

Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love themselves a bit of Amazon?! You can find pretty much everything on here from cookware to gadgets as well as a vast array of books – hurrah!

4. Topshop

I love this place. Like literally love it. I like the affordability, the statement pieces and how you can have fun and push boundaries with their fashion. 

5. Asos

The best thing about Asos is the amount of choice. So many brands, so many items. I think it is literally impossible not to find anything to fall in love with on this site. Impossible. 

6. Jack Wills

I’m a bit of a Jack Wills junkie. Again it’s the quality and staple pieces that draw me in. I love the different prints they have for dresses and their preppy, feminine style. 

7. Cath Kidston

Great for cute homewear pieces and little gifts for friends, Cath Kidston has been a favourite of mine for years. Where else can you get such wonderful prints?!

So there you have it, some of my favourite places to splash the cash.

I’m off to check out the summer sales!

Where are your favourite places to shop?

L x