My Top 5 Places I Want To Visit

Travel

Hello everyone! I really miss writing travel posts, as I find it so much harder to be inventive with them when I’ve not been to any new places recently or have any trips coming up. But I thought I would give it a go, keep it quite general and just talk about the top places I want to visit. In no particular order, let’s get stuck in!

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Japan

I have always been fascinated by Japan. The cuisine, the culture, the language, the sports and martial arts…everything. It’s always been such a unique place to me and if I ever get the opportunity to go it would be amazing.  I’d love to go during the spring in order to see all of the pink cherry blossoms, they are all over Japan at spring time even in its major cities like Tokyo. This surprised me as I imagined Tokyo as massive skyscrapers, sophisticated technology and basically the business hub of Japan covered in concrete. Apparently they also have beautiful nature parks with plenty of picnic spaces alongside the river, where the cherry blossoms have been carefully located and planted for an incredible look. I’ve always loved Japanese cuisine of sushi, it would be a dream of mine to have a sushi master class in Japan!!

LA

Los Angeles has always been one of those places that I always imagine is actually like it is in the movies. There is supposed to be such an amazing relaxing vibe, I’d love to go hiking up to the Hollywood sign, Visit Santa Monica beach, shop in Beverly Hills – ah it all just sounds amazing! I’d love to also, while on the west coast, get out to Las Vegas and then up to San Fransisco aswell, you can’t go to America and not do a little road trip. I would also love to visit the original Gold Gym on Venice Beach. LA has a great attitude and look on fitness so being able to workout and go to the original Golds Gym would just be so cool. One of my grandpa’s favourite films was ‘Pumping Iron’ and he always loved Arnie and what he stood for so being able to go there and experience it would be really special. We’ve actually got 2 books on our bookcase : the first is ‘The Golds Gym Training Encyclopaedia’ published in 1984, and the other ‘Pumping Iron – The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding’, both belonged to my grandpa. (See pictures below).

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Australia

Although there is a lot about Australia that scares me (big spiders for one), all of the stunning landscapes, the weather and most of all the wildlife is definitely still enough for it to be in my top 5, I have some relatives over there, so it would be a dream to be able to go and see them and do a road trip around, seeing all the best hot spots! I would love to swim with dolphins over there, that has been on my bucket list for a while so it would be such a cool thing to do and what a place to do it! I would also make the most of being so far on that side and try to visit New Zealand aswell, my grandma has been so many times and she says it’s incredible.

Iceland

I never would have thought Iceland would be on my list, but after I saw that film ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘ it completely had my heart, that scene when he is skateboarding through the outstanding scenery and hills, and he’s completely embraced and empowered by life – I just have to go!! My cousin and her boyfriend went there September last year and they just fulfilled everything that I thought it was. They had some amazing photos and did such cool things. I’ve heard it is pretty expensive when you get there but I reckon flights wouldn’t be too bad from the UK so that would help.

New York

I know it’s somewhere else in America but ever since I’ve been watching ‘Friends‘ which is well over 10 years, I’ve wanted to go to New York. Feel the real big city vibes from the Big Apple. I’d love to go at winter time and hopefully see it when it snows, it would be so magical to walk through Central Park in the snow! Also since I’ve seen ‘Gossip Girl’, to go to all of the hotspots that are in show would be so awesome (and just pretend I’m Blair Waldorf ). New York has so many massive sights, I’d love to go to Madison Square Garden, Empire State, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge – all the mega touristy things!

(Yes I realise a lot of my images and thoughts on these places have come from TV shows…no shame)

Thank you so much for reading, I’d love to know what places are on your bucket list and if you’ve already got set plans to go! I can’t wait to get exploring some more!!

Until next time, you know you love me xoxo *whispers* gossip girl

 

 

My Time in the Caribbean: Barbados

Travel

This is the final part of my mini blog series about my Caribbean adventures. If you’ve read my other ones- thank you! Il leave my other links down below!

Barbados was the last new island we visited before we headed back to Montserrat for our final couple of weeks. I didn’t know a lot about it, my only point of comparison is that episode of friends ‘ The One in Barbados’ in Series 9, where they all go for Ross’ presentation..considering what I was doing could’ve have been any different to that, not sure that’s a good point of reference to be honest. Anyway I was so excited, in my head it was the classic postcard island!

When we arrived I could immediately feel the difference in the heat, out of all the islands we went to, Barbados was closest to the equator and you could tell! The immense humidity couldn’t be escaped, nevertheless I was still immensely enjoying being in the sunshine.When we arrived at our accommodation, our room wasn’t ready yet, so we dropped our bags and headed down to the beach, literally only 2 minutes away from where we were staying. Good start. We had read about many lovely beaches in Barbados and the one closest to us was no different. Dover Beach was insane! I’ve never seen a beach like, the water was turquoise and the sand was white and on top of that you could see sea turtles popping up to breath ever so close to the shore! (check out my blogpost all about turtles!). I was feeling very excited to be staying in such a beautiful place.

The location where we were staying turned out to be a very cruise orientated location so the average age of a tourist was +50, not ideal when you are looking to meet people your own age but nevertheless we ended up at this beach bar on our first day, and met the owner Kay. She is born and breed Bajan and we immediately hit it off. Her sense of humour was so sharp and blunt it completely got rid of any awkwardness you get when you first meet someone. Over our time she become a really good friend, and she helped us experience Barbados to it’s full potential from a local’s point of view.

We had 18 nights in Barbados and we really wanted to make the most it. We had saved a lot of money from Martinique as we didn’t do many touristy things, so we knew we had the funds to explore Barbados fully. Our first week or so, we spent researching, chilling at the beaches and having drinks at Kay’s beach bar. We had asked Kay about what she recommends we do that is the best value for money! She suggested the ‘Animal Flower Cave’ at the top of the island. There is another cave, some say more famous, on the island called ‘Harrison’s Cave’ but this one didn’t appeal to us as much, so we went with our instinct and booked the ‘Animal Flower Cave’.

We thought the best way to do it would be to hire a car and drive there, that way you see the whole East Coast (we were staying on the South West) and it turned out to be cheaper than doing it as part of a tour. The drive was…stressful. Pot holes everywhere, unknown roads and way of direction and myself who hasn’t driven in a good few years. But we made the most of it and still had a good journey! It was amazing seeing the East Coast, you really get a different view of the island. Finding the Cave was pretty easy, and 3 hours later we had arrived. We didn’t really know what to expect but any expectations I did have, it blew them out of the water. It was stunning! The rock formations and beautiful view of the ocean out from the cave was honestly amazing. They were loads of rock pools with sea anemones everywhere. Sometimes you are allowed to swim in the biggest one but the day we were there the swell was too bad so we couldn’t..so gutted. It was still an amazing day and I’m so glad we went.

Another must do of Kay’s was Oistins Fish Fry. This is a Friday night Fish Barbecue essentially with entertainment and souvenir stalls. I am so glad we got to go with Kay! As a tourist I feel you would be lost with how it worked and it was so so busy I reckon a lot of people give up. But Kay need exactly was to do, she got us sat down really quick, beers on the way and even helped us choose the best fish they had to offer. I got the swordfish and Peter (my boyfriend) got barracuda. It was cooked to perfection. I’ve never had it before so I have no clue how it is supposed to be cooked but my word it was delicious. Quite a meaty fish but still so flaky and moist with tonnes of flavour. Served with potatoes and red beans it was the perfect Bajan meal. After eating we went exploring the rest of the market, grabbed a few beers and watched some of the entertainment. Very dance orientated with music impersonators aswell. It was such a fun night and I’m glad we got a chance to experience it, true Bajan style. I definitely recommend if you are staying close to Oistins in Barbados to check it out, the fish alone is worth it!

On our chill days (which were 80% of the days) we spent at beaches. As I said Dover Beach was the one closest to us which was lovely but also it was incredibly busy! As it was surrounded by massive hotel complexes, people staying their could step out of their hotel room straight onto the beach. So we were determined to find our own little paradise where there were far less people and that’s exactly what we did. About 10 minutes down the road from Dover Beach was Worthing Beach. It was so tucked away it doesn’t surprise me people didn’t bother to find it when the other beach was so much more convenient. For us it was so worth it!

Our first time there is was basically deserted, a few people right at the start of the beach but as we wondered down there were less and less to the point where we had, what felt like, our own private beach. It was just what we wanted. The water had a slight swell so not great for snorkelling but that was only where we were. Paradise. This was the beach were I saw my turtles- read about my experience on the link above! It immediately become our new go to beach and we didn’t go back to Dover! For me, it was what you imagine a desert island beach to look like as child, bright blue water, white sand, palm trees and turtles! Can you imagine anything better!

That is what we did in Barbados in a nutshell, if you can call that a nutshell! If you made it this far- thank you for reading!

Please give it a like or a comment!

Have you been to Barbados? Where did you stay? What did you do? I’d love to know!

My time in the Caribbean: Martinique

My time in the Caribbean : Montserrat

Meet my new dog!

Lifestyle

This is such a crazy story! Here’s a little background to why this is such an unforeseen story. I have loved dogs…not even loved…been obsessed with dogs since I can remember! I always, always wanted one growing up and would consistently ask for every birthday and every Xmas (also on the list was high heels-always wanting to be older and cooler). But never got one, because mainly my Mum is not a fan of animals at all. She’s not scared of them per say but definitely tries to avoid them. So having one in the house was never an option. I finally came to terms with it when I was maybe 17, and decided I would just get my own dog when I had moved out and got my own place. So I was mentally prepared to be without a cute little pup for however many years I lived at my family home.

If you’ve read either of my recent travel posts (more coming soon…) you’ll know I’ve been in the Caribbean since the start of August. 2 months doing conservation work on Montserrat and 2 months travelling. When I was on the conservation project, the guys on the site introduced me to all of their friends they had off site. One example is our friend Charley. She runs a dive centre on the island (if you’re a keen diver and want to travel: Click the link!) and is a active conservationist, always planning beach/reef cleans, trying to inspire locals on the island to save the coral reefs and her main objective is to be as waste-free as possible. I really admire her, she is such a hard worker. On top of running her own business all on her own, she has 4 dogs, a horse and a goat to look after. I know! All of which had been abandoned on the island.

I first met Charley on my first Saturday in Montserrat as she was hosting a karaoke party and invited us all round to…well sing if you can call it that. But to be honest most of us tried our hardest to avoid it. At this time she had just obtained her newest addition to her 4 puppy pack- Pea. Pea was only about 4 months old at this point, so still pretty small and very excitable. I immediately loved her, she was so energetic and playful, just so cute! So anyway, time passed and suddenly we are nearly at the end off our 2 months working in Montserrat, all ready to explore the Caribbean, this is when Charley had decided that 4 dogs (on top of everything else) was wayyyy to much to handle so she was looking for a new home for sweet little Pea. I didn’t even think twice about asking my family, as I just knew what the answer was going to be.

Lets jump forward about 3 weeks (beginning of October), I slyly dropped Charley’s dilemma into conversation with my family back home, and they were totally up for adopting Pea!!! I couldn’t believe my luck!! I’ve managed to help a friend out as she was struggling so much in finding a home suitable for this pretty pup AND I get my own little doggo! I’m so so excited to get training her and have her as my own! I’m thinking about blogging the ‘Pup updates’, I’m imagining some funny stories will come out of me trying to keep her under control!

My little Pea pod

I am now in my last week off being in the Caribbean, it has been the most incredible trip and I’ve learnt so much, and now on top of that I have my very own Caribbean pooch to come home with me and remind me of it.

I know this has been a bit of a long winded explanation, but it’s just one of those things that I never thought would happen. And I’m so happy! I’m flying home from the Caribbean with a puppy- magical!

If you are ever in my situation: here are my main tips for transporting an animal (there is soooooooo much paperwork!!)

  • Do your research! There is so much you need to know and so many different variables depending on place, transport, type of animal.
  • Get ahead of the game! I started to get stuff ready over 2 months before I leave to go home and I’m on my last week now and I’m still getting stuff organised.
  • Be honest and take your time! Don’t try and hide anything under the rug, there could be massive charges when you reach the other side. I knew people that did the same thing I’m doing but missed out a bit of a particular form and it cost them £700.

Thanks for reading x

My time in the Caribbean: Martinique

Travel

Welcome to my second installment of my mini blog series of ‘My time in the Caribbean’, this time I’m going to be talking about one of the French islands in the Lesser Antilles. Now, to be honest when my boyfriend and I were planning our travels, Martinique was not on our very small list of islands that we wanted to go to basically because we didn’t even know it existed (bad I know). But when it came to booking flights to and from the islands, the airline (we flew with Liat) had very set routes on how to get to certain islands, for example to get to Barbados you have to fly there via Martinique. So to save time and some money we decided to book our flights according to where the airline would have to go via…if that makes sense…anyway that’s how we ended up on this beautiful island.

View from the walk to the beach.

Out of all the islands that I’ve visited in the Caribbean, Martinique was weirdly the one that felt most like home. It was just so European, I remember getting out of the airport and it felt like I was in France, and I know it’s a French territory in the Caribbean so some people might say ‘Well what do you expect?’ But Montserrat is a British territory and that is like nowhere in Britain- believe me! It was just so refreshing. And for me, such a nice way to feel, landing somewhere that feels so close to home. Now, I don’t speak French, I’ve done so many years off it, all the way through to college when I sadly failed my first year (yes I got a U) so surprisingly I’m still not good. I’ve always loved the language, so I thought staying in a French speaking country for 5 weeks, my French must improve! Right? Kinda. Anyway, having the language barrier just added another challenge to our stay and I loved it.

The Air B&B we had was sooooo cute. A little studio apartment with a sea view, 5 minute walk from the beach. It was the sweetest little place, modern, quirky with plenty of living space for a couple. Check it out : Our little studio flat. Couldn’t ask for more really. The beach we were next too was called Anse Mitan, it was beautiful, clear waters, white sand and a lovely view of all the boats and the coastline. We were on quite a restricted budget, as this is the island we stayed on the longest and also the most expensive, so a lovely cheap day for us is spending it on the beach and grabbing a cheeky drink in the afternoon. Our favourite beach bar was called ‘Ti Taurus’ and be honest we discovered this place after using TripAdvisor to find the cheapest places to eat near to you. But it became so much more than that, the people were lovely (and spoke some English), great drink and food selection, anything from your classic burgers to local seafood and fish, and an amazing view of the ocean. So as you can probably guess we were there quiet a lot. My drink of choice while in Martinique was Desperado Red. Oh my gosh, x100 better than the original desperado for sure. If you see it somewhere, get it, you won’t regret it!

Our time in Martinique was incredibly chilled and to be honest you could say we were even pretty lazy, but that’s what you do when you’re on holiday right?! We spent most of our money there on drinks and going out for food- that’s just what we like to do! A few times we got exploring by catching the ferry over to Fort-de France and spending the day there. Fort-de France is the main city in Martinique so there were definitely a lot more city vibes going on, and a great place to be a tourist. Lots of shops, restaurants and attractions, and if you’re like us on a more strict budget, check out the museum (Musee Departemental de la Martinique), free entry and loads of interesting history about Martinique and the Caribbean islands in general (they had English translations obviously, but to be honest worth a visit just for the visuals). I’m not the biggest history person but even I found it really interesting- so definitely worth a visit. There is also an incredible market right in the center on the city, perfect for souvenirs, anything you can think off from Caribbean chutney, to bags, to furniture. I love markets, they are such a fun away to find individual unique things. I just wish I had the space in my bag and money in my wallet to buy things. If you go upstairs in the market, there is restaurant cafe, where we grabbed a bit of lunch on our second visit. Now if there’s one thing you can rely on in the Caribbean, it’s that the chicken is going to be the best chicken you’ve ever had! Seriously it’s always incredible, and that’s exactly what we got, curried chicken with rice, beans and plantain, delicious!!

Cutest market

I hope this gives you a little insight to the time I had in Martinique, I really loved my stay there. Well done if you’ve made it this far as I’ve rambled quite a lot!

Thank you so much for reading x

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!

My time in the Caribbean : Montserrat

Travel

Wow it feels so weird to be writing a blogpost again, I’ve had a pretty intense year since I last blogged so I needed to take a break from it and spend time with the people that are closest to me, but I’m so happy to be back and with so much more to share! I’m actually writing this on my phone from the comfort of my Air B&B in Barbados, I just couldn’t wait to return to the UK to share stuff about my trip. The first sector off what I’m going to call a ‘blog series’ is going to be about my time in the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean – Montserrat!

When I told people I was going to Montserrat people thought I meant the mountain range in Spain, which to be honest is only fair as I had noooo idea where it was when until my friend recommended it to me. My boyfriend is a wildlife conservationist so he was looking for work in this field, while myself, I don’t have any experience in this area but I’ve always wanted to volunteer on a similar project. We found this organisation ‘Coral Cay Conservation‘ that did amazing work helping endangered coral reefs and tropical forests. They had a site over in Montserrat so my boyfriend applied for a job as a Science Officer and got it! It was such great news as we finally had a starting place for our travels! I joined him out there a few months after he arrived in May as a volunteer.

Views from my room

I don’t even know where to start when describing Montserrat. I’ve never been to any place like it. The whole island only has a population of 5,000 people so as you can probably guess there is a huge sense of community. Everyone was so friendly and trusting, there is (basically) no crime what so ever and everyone knows everyone. Montserrat is a mountainous island with an active volcano…yes meaning it could have erupted at any time, which was so scary to me at first but more I learnt about the volcano and the way they track and monitor it, I pretty much forgot it was even active, in fact if anything it made it more exciting.

Me showing my excitement for the volcano

Me being excited about seeing the volcano

Being a part of the conservation project meant I got to contribute to monitoring 30 different species of bird and 12 herptiles that lived on the island. Learning all these different animals was SO fascinating, I mean I’ve always loved animals but I never thought I would love bird spotting. It has quickly become a major interest of mine, everywhere we go now I’m pointing out birds and identifying what species it is from our book (yes we have bird book) and I love it!

Everyday on the project would consist of going on a trail in the morning then usually a shorebird survey in the afternoon. The trails were amazing, you really got to explore the depths of Montserrat’s tropical forests, it definitely was a challenge. Hiking in such extreme temperatures on top off the humidity is a real test, but ever so rewarding. One trail, called ‘Rendezvous’, ended in a beautiful white sand beach which you would have had no idea was there, so secluded and tranquil. Although this trail was a tough hike as it wasn’t the most covered from the sun and it took you straight over a cliff ridge, so it was fairly steep, it immediately became my favourite trail. Rendezvous Beach

Rendezvous Beach

Other trails were a lot more wooded, I’ve never seen forests like it, very Tarzan-esc with dozens of vines and roots of trees taller than 2 of you. These kind of trails were always more humid, as there is less of a breeze. Something I have learnt from doing all these treks is not to be embarrassed by sweat. I have never sweated so much in my life and you just learn to get on with it, my entire body just dripping, even in places I didn’t even know could sweat- just happens! So no more embarrassing sweat patches when I’m back in the UK as it’s nothing compared to this. On a less gross note, the ‘Oriole Trail’ was another one of my favourites, aptly named after the ‘Montserrat Oriole’ which is the national bird of the island. It’s a beautiful uphill hike to the top then a nice decline to the end. This trail also ended at a coffee shop which sold the MOST delicious chocolate milkshake! Not the most important reason to do the trail but I’ll tell you now after sweating and hiking like that, an ice cold milkshake is just what you need!

Montserrat Oriole (male)

Montserrat Oriole (male)

Views from the top of Oriole trail

Views from the top of Oriole Trail

So from Monday- Saturday our days were filled up with treks, surveys, daily chores and activities but as soon as the clock struck 6pm on Saturday it became ‘Beer O’clock’! Making sure all the science is taken care off we were free to spend our Saturday night as we please, whether it’s going out and having a night in with a few drinks. On the first Saturday I was there, we all decided to go out, I was so excited! I always think experiencing a place a night you really get to see a different side of the culture and meet new people. The first bar we went too, you wouldn’t even recognise it as a bar back home. It was a bright blue and green painted hut with dance hall music blasting out of an outside speaker with the owner sat on a plastic chair next to it. All along the back inside is the bar with a TV screen on your left where you can play FIFA on PlayStation. When you order a drink it was a completely unique thing again! It’s never happened to me before where you order a gin and tonic, for example, and in front of you they put the bottle of gin, a can of tonic, a full ice cube tray and a plastic cup- basically make your own! No measurements or limits and you pay the same price. Bartending is my trade back home so I think this so strange, but definitely not going to complain.

I could ramble on telling you about every experience I had in Montserrat but I highly doubt anyone reading will make it any further (if you’ve made it this far thank you). Overall I would recommend going to Montserrat if you’re are already in the Caribbean for a few days. There is not loads to do but definitely pop over if you are close. Hike! Swim! Snorkel! Dive! Also some beautiful sunsets (seriously I’ve never seen any like it). Being able to spend 2 months there working as a volunteer was truly an honour.

Sunset the night before Irma hit

Sunset the night before Irma hit

Thank you for reading.

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