Friday, November 21, 2014

Life :: Travel Journal no.7 - England

The last stop in our three week journey was London.

Sadly, we weren't able to get out of the core and see a little more of England, but there's plenty enough time for that in other trips. And yes, that does mean that I'm planning more trips even as I type this.

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I liked London. But I do think that this trip has made me realize that I'm never going to be living in Central London. Firstly, in typical London fashion it rained the entire time we were there. And if it wasn't quite raining, it was threatening to rain. Or mist. Whatever you Londonites call the weather there. The weather definitely made it a little harder to take good pictures.

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Andrew and I walked evey where, or took the tube. The tube definitely overwhelmed me. I didn't realize that I'd get so claustrophobic down there, but it was pretty terrible. Plus, you are deep in the ground. Just a slightly terrifying thought...

We didn't rely on a bus tour this time, and so we just meandered around the city. We walked to Buckingham Palace, meandered through the park there, made friends with the squirrels. Something was going down at the Palace, big crowds and random, well dressed people were walking out of there. Didn't glimpse anyone that I knew ;)

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We were being extremely cheap as well. Everything is so much more expensive in London, due to the exchange rate on our dollar. Everything is double for us! So I was much pickier, only picking up brands that I knew we didn't have here in Canada. We didn't go onto the Eye, we didn't go up the Shard, we didn't go into any museum or attraction. I wouldn't have minded doing the Tower of London, but I just went into the gift shop instead.

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Of all the places that we visited, I'm sad to say that I was underwhelmed by London. I thought that I would enjoy it more, but I think that the weather just got me so down. I definitely would love to visit the other places in the UK though - Wales, Ireland and Scotland, here I come (in a few years)!



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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life :: Travel Journal no. 6 - Paris France

Ah, the city of lights. The city of l'amour! Paris, where have you been all my life?


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I can't describe how much love I feel for this city. While there have been a lot of other cities visited so far, and each have been special and I love them all, Paris has always held a certain thrall over me. I've read so many books based on, in, and around France, that I feel like I had a certain expectation of France.

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And, Paris, you did not disappoint. Although, after Versailles we didn't automatically jump straight to Paris. On Wednesday, we decided to spend the day at Disneyland. Andrew and I have decided to try and get to all of the Disneylands/worlds around the world before we die. I also feel like, since we were there we might as we jump into that bucket list dream.

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It did not dawn a very nice day. In fact, it was pouring. Raining cats and dogs. I wore my Keds, which promptly got soaked within the first 5 minutes of going outside. We spent a whopping 9 Euro on ponchos so that we wouldn't be wet all over - extortionate, but worth the money. We then proceeded to go on every single ride. Everything. In both parks. Most were little kids rides, but they brought back so many memories that I had to go on them anyway.

It was a long day, but the final light show, which happened during the pouring rain was absolutely magical. And the day was one that I won't forget soon. I admit that it even brought a single tear to my eye. Yes, I am a Disney nerd.

Thursday was a much nicer day in regards to weather, so I was extremely happy about that, especially since my Keds were still completely soaked, and unwearable. Woohoo.

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We headed down to the tourist section of Paris, and walked along the Seine when we got off at the Notre-Dame stop. After some humming and hawing we decided to hop on a bus tour, and I'm glad that we did! It made it easy to get around and you always learn such fascinating tidbits of information in them.

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I didn't get out of the city like I'd originally planned, but there was so much to see. We of course hit up the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, but it was just glorious. I loved the Opera house, and it was just fascinating to see the amazing architecture that Paris just lives and breathes. Coming home from that was just a little bit of a disappointment.

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Let me know which is your favourite place in Paris!



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Monday, November 17, 2014

Life :: Christmas Card Swap Reminder!

Reminder!! Time is getting close to Christmas, so join in my card swap!

If you haven't already done so, please let me know if you would like to join up!

Write a comment below and I'll add you to the list! I can't wait to see all the cards that people send out!
I hope that you'll be joining us! 
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Toronto :: National Ballet of Canada presents Manon

The National Ballet of Canada has done it again. This week is the presentation of the ballet Manon, and it is spectacular.

Photo courtesy of the National Ballet of Canada website
It's only playing this week, so get in there while you can. I went to the Sunday November 9th matinee performance with my friend Rochelle.

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon. As always, the venue of the Four Seasons is a pleasure to visit and the performance itself was a visual masterpiece.

Based on the novel, Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost, the story revolves around the young woman Manon and her brother Lescaut. He makes a marriage deal to a rich man, unbeknownst that his sister has fallen in love with another. She is torn between her love and money, until making the ultimate decision of tragic love.

Of course, I don't want to give to much away, other than go and see it for yourself! Meanwhile, I'm going to go find and read the original novel.

Tickets are on sale online or at the box office and can fit every budget. Let me know if you go and see it, or anything else this season!


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Friday, November 7, 2014

Toronto :: The Kitten and the Bear

Nestled in Parkdale Village, is the cutest couple who create mouthwatering confitures and scones from scratch, in house.

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Seriously though, homemade is always the best. I first read about this place in Toronto Life magazine in their Best of the City 2014 article. I can totally understand why it made that list.

The shop itself is adorable, quite small, but perfectly cosy. I would love to eventually try their tea service, due to their size they only have two tables for 2. No large groups here! After spending the day walking along Queen St., I decided that I deserved a take home treat. I bought 2 scones and a taster set of three of their jams.

Oh. My. God. These are pure heaven. Every time I look at these pictures I'm reminded of them and I put it on my to-do list to head back down there. Golden brown heaven. Mm.

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The jams are always on rotation, depending on what fruits are in season, but I tried the Strawberry Rhubarb, Apricot, and Black Currant. I was pleasantly surprised by the apricot, easily being a favourite [I'm not the biggest fan of the fruit]. They have a lovely selection, and I definitely can't wait to go back. Might squeeze it in this weekend, since I'll be on Queen St! 

So lovely with a nice warm cup of tea. 



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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Life :: Travel Journal no.5 - Versailles France

Versailles. The city of luxury, and history.

Yes. This was the surreal moment of my trip. Arriving in Paris, and not actually seeing anything, because we actually were staying in Versailles [a block away from the palace.] We arrived after dark... of course.. Not extremely late, but after spending a couple hours on a train and trying to figure out where to go once we arrived on the train station... It was a little crazy. I couldn't fully appreciate the area that we had chosen fully until the next morning.

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We used AirBnB to book this apartment, and I can't recommend it enough. Although I didn't bring my phone on this trip, and we had no internet so we lucked into getting into the apartment. Haha, oops! Definitely should have contacted her about getting in earlier! But it all worked out. Her building is stunning, and her apartment was adorable. In the morning, we realized just how close we were to the palace, and couldn't believe it. It was almost a joke that we didn't even see it that night.

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I will start this off by stating that we were still doing the "lazy tourist" thing. We slept in til about 10, which meant that we didn't actually get out the door until about 12. No regrets there. It was needed, and with the amount of walking we did, phew! Monday morning we decided that we were going to start with the Palace of Versailles first.

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Probably should have done a little more research - it's closed on Mondays! Oops. So we just toured the gardens (for free!) that day, and then meandered around the city a bit. The weather was a little bit overcast, but nothing to bad. We spent a good 4 hours just wandering around the gardens. It was lovely, because it wasn't extremely busy, but enough that we could still ask some others to take a picture for us. The only sad thing was that quite a bit is currently under restoration right now, so the pictures are missing a giant fountain - currently a construction site.

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On Tuesday, we went back to Versailles, and did the palace and the grounds. Stunning. Absolutely stunning. I love the history of Louis XIV, and of course, Marie Antoinette. Her estate on the grounds was amazing.

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This of course was pretty much the whole day. We were exhausted afterwards but I so enjoyed it! And yes, I totally pretended that this was my summer home, no bigs.



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