In May I’ll be, once again, visiting the UK for a few weeks. This will be my 10th trip as a visitor (11 if you count 2015 when I lived there) and I swear I never get any less excited.Read More
The Big Smoke.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited London many times over the last 7 years. Although it isn’t my favourite city in the UK (/waves to Bristol/), and it did take me a while to get used to it, I’ve really learned to appreciate London and feel more and more at ease in the city, each time I visit.
You will spend a lifetime trying to see everything in London and I can guarantee you won’t, so it’s important to make little lists of places you’d like to visit while you’re there. I try to do a Top 5 list each time I’m in London. Sometimes I knock off 1 item, sometimes 3, sometimes none! It’s a crazy big city so it’s easy to get distracted. Here’s my current Top 5 places (in no particular order) I’d like to visit. Have you been to any of these? What’s on your top 5 list?
1. Liberty London
Although I’m an avid shopper, I’d love to visit Liberty London for its outstanding Tudor architecture. The store was built from the timbers of two three-decker battle ships! The atriums are stunning and the shops are all very homely. Definitely an Instagrammable spot!
2. Duck and Waffle
Fortnum & Mason is well-known for its hampers full of yummy eats but, just like Liberty London, I’d love to visit the shop on Piccadilly for its stunning architecture. Look at how pretty the store-front is! Wow.
4. Maître Choux
Situated in South Kensington, this is a little shop lovingly faithful to all things choux (pastry, that is). This is the adult version of kid-in-a-candy-store, frankly. If there’s one thing I love it’s pretty desserts and this little place has got it.
I only once saw Covent Garden from the outside and it was closed for the night so, technically, I’ve never really been there. It’s a spot I’d love to get to early in the morning and just have a good wander around. I’d then make time to also zip around the corner to Neal’s Yard to snap some colourful photos for the ‘gram.
1. Harbour Festival
I do my best to plan my visits to Bristol around my favourite festival, the Bristol Harbour Festival. I'm in love with how, for a full weekend, the floating harbour is heaving with ships and boats of all varieties, all-day entertainment, and markets as far as the eye can see. I always come back with something from a local independent creative and this time it was some lovely earrings from Amy at Ameow Designs. I picked up some pretty drop earrings made with Delphiniums and gold leaf, as well as a sweet pair of studs made with Gypsophilia.
2. Gromit Unleashed 2 Trail
So far I've been lucky enough to be able to make it to all of the Grand Appeal's trails (Gromit Unleashed 2013, Shaun in the City 2015, and Gromit Unleashed 2 2018). This year's trail was so much fun because it included Wallace, Gromit, and Feathers! I downloaded the app and was able to check off 40 of the 67 sculptures this summer. I also made a quick and easy donation at the main office but, this year, there were handy-dandy contactless (aka tap) stations all around the trail which made helping the Grand Appeal that much easier. I had so much fun this year exploring many new-to-me areas of Bristol thanks to the trail.
2012 was the first time I had ever heard of Tyntesfield and I've been meaning to visit it ever since. I was finally able to get there this year and, thanks to my National Trust for Canada membership, I was able to get in for free! The Gibbs family home (for 4 generations) is, obviously stunning, and knowing that the house is still furnished with all their possessions makes the visit that much more humbling. From the light fixtures and libraries, to the paintings and parlours, Tyntesfield is a must-visit. The most stunning feature though is actually the gardens which are lovingly maintained by 7 staff members. They've definitely had a challenge this year considering how hot it's been in Bristol!
4. Bristol Lido
I've been to the Bristol Lido (Lee-doh/Lie-doh?) before and had an amazing time so this visit I decided to treat myself to a full spa-aahhhhhhhhh day. What a relaxing, glorious day that was! I had a much-needed de-stressing neck, back, and arm massage, followed by a cozy tea in the relaxation room. Then I moved onto my two-course meal from their restaurant. After that I went for nice swim in the pool, followed by some calming time in the sauna. Just what the doctor ordered.
5. Re-Affirmed My Love For Bristol
Spending months at a time away from Bristol, I inevitably start to question whether or not I should keep going back to visit and if I should make other plans for my life instead. Getting to Bristol every year from my region of Canada is not cheap. Also, the hope I have for one day moving there permanently can seem like an impossible dream. There are so many roadblocks in my way to making that happen. This trip I took some time to really reflect on my love for Bristol and to make some tough decisions. Although I now have a plan B (Toronto), moving to Bristol within the next 2 years is absolutely my plan A. This city means WAY TOO MUCH to me. Every single time I visit, I actually become happier and I seem to grow as a person. This place does things to me emotionally that no place has ever done. I feel like the best me I can be and I feel at home in Bristol. I love this city and I'm so grateful for every single experience I've ever had here, from 2011 to today. ♥
Back in March of this year I was given the opportunity of visiting San Francisco through work, to attend our annual conference.
I actually hadn't been to America on a vacation since 1993 and since this trip was going to be paid for, for the most part, I jumped at the chance.
So here's a little Throwback Thursday to my week in San Francisco from March 13th - 20th this year. Feel free to click each image to enlarge.
Have you been to San Francisco? If so, what were some of your favourite attractions?