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.
Earlier this month I ended up in Toronto for 24 hours.
This was not planned. In fact, what was planned was a week-long mother/daughter trip to Toronto but a family emergency hailed us home not long after arriving. C’est la vie!
So, we made the absolute best of our short visit and I left Toronto with a longing to go back like never before.
What I managed to fit in was major touristy things but, nevertheless, I feel like I saw and experienced so much!
Here’s what I got up to! Click the headings to go to their website and check out my photos below!
Although I didn’t really have the chance to do any shopping, I did enjoy just roaming around the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. The mall is not dead, folks. The mall is alive and well in Toronto. The only place I stopped at was Purdys Chocolatier shop because I hadn’t seen a Purdys since I lived in Vancouver back in 2005. Yum!
Found on Esplanade, this old English-style pub feels like you’ve crossed the pond. The food was yummy, the drink choices were plenty, the staff was friendly, and the ambience was lovely. I’d definitely go there again.
Okay so, technically, we only walked through there so I could see the fantastical decor because it was right next to the Scotland Yard pub but, wow! This place will definitely be on the list of places to eat next time.
This was so much fun! Whenever I visit a city, if they have a hop on hop off tour, you can bet your butt that I’ll be doing it. I find myself always booking with the City Sightseeing company whenever I can because they offer both the live guide tour as well as the multi-language tour. The multi-language tour is the one with the headphones and, when you’re travelling on the top of a double-decker bus, sometimes it’s hard to hear the live guide so I prefer the multi-language tour so I can just plug in and listen to the interesting facts.
A lovely green space with the most whimsical fountain in the world! Totally dog-friendly!
Not only did I snap countless photos of the Gooderham Building (one of the earliest Flatiron buildings ever built) but I also visited the pub in the basement of the building for some more English pub grub. I was clearly missing England! The Flatiron pub is not only a cool place to eat because of its location but it has a yummy menu, friendly staff, and funky British pop culture and sporty decor.
I know I’ve been to Union Station once before in my life but it’s honestly been so long that I thought it worth another visit to this iconic building. I wasn’t disappointed. The symmetry inside the building is very photogenic and definitely worth using the #accidentallywesanderson hashtag. From Union Station you can also walk indoors all the way to…
No trip to Toronto is complete without a visit to the CN Tower. We took a quick elevator to the top, were awestruck at the views, had some tea and cake, and braved the glass floor.
We ate a lot…what else do you do when you’re on holiday? We went from English pubs to French patisseries in this case. This cafe was so cute and had some really sweet sweets! We just walked by and knew we had to pop in for a treat.
I know it’s weird to mention my hotel but let me just say that this was, hands down, the best hotel I’ve stayed at in a long while. I have all intentions of staying here again and I’d recommend it to anyone who is planning a trip to T Dot.
We’re planning another mother/daughter Toronto trip in the spring for Mother’s Day and I’m really looking forward to it.
Have you been in “the 6ix” lately? What are some of your must-sees that you think I must see?
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. ♥