My packing extras: make the most of your trip!

Travel

I have always loved the idea of travelling to new places even from when I was really little, as soon as I was old enough to head off into the world I did! My first major trip without my folks being my month away interailing when I was 18. Since then I’ve done a few different trips and from each trip I’ve learnt different packing tips and tricks that have helped me make the most of my experience! Here is a little insight to what I ALWAYS take with me whenever I go somewhere.

 

Write it down!

I’ll start with one of the most obvious things, that I know a lot of people have already but I’ll still give it a mention: a travel journal! I first got mine years ago, it’s been all around Europe with me, to Canada and now to the Caribbean. I’m so happy I invested in one years ago as it’s really helped me document my experiences and how exactly I was feeling at the time. When I’m away I don’t write in it everyday, for me the best way is to write when you’ve had a particular special day, or you’ve done something new, met new people or even if you’ve had a terrible day, writing about it might help you get it out your mind and start fresh. You might feel silly at first (I know I did!) because writing what you’re feeling can sometimes be cringy and embarrassing but really you’re the only person that is going to see it so really it doesn’t matter. I was having a little glance back at mine and I’m so happy I kept it up on my trips because it bought back so many memories, stuff I’d forgotten and I even had a little chuckle to myself (I’m pretty lame sometimes). You won’t regret it!

Another quick reason why having a journal is great is to document your finances, I know this sounds suuuuper boring, but I think it’s essential especially if you’re on an extended trip. When you’ve got no money coming in, the best way to keep on top of it is just to write down what you spend everyday. I even set myself a rough budget for each week/month (miss cool over here) just to stay on track- easy peasy!

Home comforts

You can take the girl out of Yorkshire…

When I’m travelling, it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, at some point I’m going to get a little homesick. It just happens, so when I’m ever feeling super down and maybe even lonely I find home comforts are such an important thing for helping me get over this little drought. One of the main things that reminds me of being at home in York is good ol’ Yorkshire tea. So I always pack plenty of teabags with me when I go somewhere, that way if you’re feeling a bit empty and low all you’ve gotta do is put the kettle on!

Keep moving!

For me travel is just a big old holiday and what does everyone do when they’re on holiday… Indulge. Calories is not a word when you’re on holiday right! You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want without that guilt!! Which for a 2 week trip is perfect, you can really let yourself go and enjoy going out but when you’re on a longer trip say 6 months, if you indulged like you do on a little trip on a big scale, you’re going to be packing on the pounds which is not goooood. I love fitness when I’m home so I always travel with resistance bands. I’m a massive fan of home workouts and there is such a variety out there that it’s so easy to find one that suits you, adding resistance bands just adds more of a challenge. I don’t stick to any particular workout schedule when I’m away, I just try to take advantage of the environment I’m in and do little workouts when I can. This way when I get back to the UK I’m not starting from square one with my fitness game.

Take your workout to the beach!

Stay clean!

The last one isn’t the most exciting but in definitely very practical! Depending on where you’re staying when you’re away you don’t necessarily always know what you’re washing situation is going to be. Air B&B’s don’t always specify and if they do sometimes it isn’t what you expected, so just to make sure you’re not caught off guard without a way off being able to wash your clothes I always a pack a little tube of travel wash. It’s basically a washing gel you can use hand washing or with machines. The one I got cost me £1.50 from my local hardware store. If you can’t get that, even packing actual washing powder is fine, there’s no major expense I always just think it’s better to be safe (and clean!) than being sorry (and smelly!).

 

 

Thanks for reading and happy travelling!

Best brunch in BC

Travel

Now…I’m not recommending that you fly all the way to Vancouver for brunch (even though it would definitely be worth it) but if you happen to be on the west coast or passing through, you definitely need to check this place out.

the-elbow-room-cafe-storefrontIf you’re wanting a big hearty breakfast this is the place to go. When in Rome (or Canada in this case), I feel like you have to follow the Canadian way and try some off the local cuisine – pancakes and maple syrup. Need I say more. When I was in Vancouver 6 years ago now, my family and I stumbled across this diner when looking for somewhere for breakfast and it was one-off the most interesting places I’ve been to eat, I remember it so vividly. It was called ‘The Elbow Room Cafe’ (560 Davie Street, downtown Vancouver). At first it just seemed like an ordinary brunch cafe, but whats special about it is their customer service is more on the sarcastic side of things. It. Was. Hilarious. The staff are very blunt, in your face and highly entertaining in the most friendly ‘unfriendly’ way possible. I’ve never been anywhere to dine where its the norm to be insulted for just asking ‘where are the toilets please?’ You feel a bit confused at first, but they do give you a little disclaimer that its nothing personal,  and invite you to join in on the banter. When you are first seating, for example, along with the menu on the table is a ‘set of rules’, as I would take as a warning off whats to come. here for some of the things listed:

  • “This is not a The Public Library, so stop wasting time, hurry up and order something!”
  • “We belive in fast service, so relax we’ll be with you when you’re done yakking!”
  • “Water? Do you mean club soda? Otherwise get it yourself.”

It’s not just the ‘customer service’ that gives this place top marks in my opinion, the menu is very diverse, ranging from your standard english breakfast (being British myself I didn’t dare order this from the fear off hearing a snarky remark) to all sorts off brilliant combinations, with a lot of the options named after famous people. I could pick a bunch off my personal favourite ideas but to be honest there are too many to choose from, so here’s a sample of the menu instead so you can see for yourself.o

I cannot remember what I ordered was called (annoyingly) but it was by far the biggest pancake I’ve ever had, filled with cooked apple, cinnamon and syrup. Now I have a very good appetite and I hate food waste, but I couldn’t finish it however delicious it was.

I would say if you get easily offended stay clear of this place, but if you’re up for a bit of a laugh, monstrous pancakes and great coffee, don’t miss out. I will definitely be returning to ‘The Elbow Room Cafe’ when I go back to Vancouver sometime in the future, maybe this time I’ll be prepared and be able to make it an even better experience.

Thank you for reading!

6 months on the West Coast

Travel

For me, Canada is one of those places where everyone should visit at least once. So when I had the opportunity to go (again) and stay for 6 months working as an Au pair on Vancouver Island- I had to do it! It all happened pretty fast, I never thought I’d do anything so adventurous all on my own but with nothing tying me down I thought it would be an amazing thing to do.

I was away from December 2015-June 2016, I was living in Victoria which is the biggest city on Vancouver Island. I had been once before 5 years ago, when my family and I decided to do a road trip from Calgary all the way through the rockies up to Jasper, down through Whistler. Then catching the ferry from Vancouver over to the Island to stay with my Auntie and Uncle who live in Nanaimo. That was such a great trip- one of my favourite family holidays too this date. But I was a lot younger then, so although even then I knew Canada would be a place I wanted to go back too, I didn’t appreciate it fully. Victoria was such an amazing place for me to live, I was so lucky with my location. It felt like the ‘big city’ but it had this ere of Britishness which made me feel so at home.

Being an Au pair was one of the most inspiring things, I got to look after a 4 and 2 year old. Baring in mind I was only 19 (now 20) it was such a big responsibility to take care of these children, I’ve always loved kids though so it never really felt like work. I got to re-live my childhood which these kids, so even though parts of the job were torturous (potty training and mornings to name a few) the best bits were when we would play ‘tag’, or pop bubbles or have a water fight- things everyone wishes they were never too old to do.

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Woody’s Lagoon

The job aside, during my free time I loved to explore the area around me. I always say to people that Canada is the land of hidden treasures, as sometimes I feel its not about seeing the most well known landmarks or places, it’s about discovering places that can just be for you. My host family were always exploring and taking the kids too new places so I was so grateful I got to tag along for the ride. There are so many things I’d love to share about my trip, definitely way too many for one blog post, so heres just a few photos!

Thanks so much for reading! x

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Nanaimo Bay

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Goldstream National Park