L O N D O N IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

I think it’s safe to say that the United Kingdom is one of my favorite places to travel to four main reasons:

  • Family!
  • Shopping! SHOPPING! Shopping!
  • Direct flight from Ottawa to London! + MANY direct and inexpensive flights from the UK to many major cities in Europe!
  • It’s a BEAUTIFUL country; from the heart of London to the flowing countryside; I can never get enough of the views!

Our most recent visit to this wonderful country was back in November. At this point, I think we’ve visited the UK during every season. I’d say there’s something I love about each season so I can’t say I like one more than the other.

During each trip, we visit our traditional list of attractions such as the heart of London, Primark, Wagamama, etc., but also try to see at least one new place we have never been to before!

This time, my husband made the call, and we visited Stonehenge and the nearby Town of Windsor. Both locations were definitely worth the trip! It actually felt important to visit Stonehenge because of its historical background; I definitely feel we checked something off our bucket list with this one. Next, the Town of Windsor; like many of these English Towns, was absolutely adorable! Filled with so many little shops, cafes, and restaurants, and of course, the Windsor Castle right in the middle of the Town. Check + Check!

Luckily for us, the weather cooperated better than expected as well. We were greeted with sunshine from the moment we landed, to the moment we took off at the end of our trip. Not only was it sunny, but it wasn’t at all as cold as it was in Canada, so – bonus! Walking around comfortable in a leather jacket in November is a win in my eyes.

Anyways, we will probably be back sooner than later because we just can’t seem to get enough of Europe recently!!

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TOP THREE FARMERS MARKETS IN OTTAWA

For those who are looking for healthy, organic, or fresh from the farm products, Farmer’s Markets are a true gem – especially for those who live in the heart of a big city and don’t have too much spare time to venture out to these local farms. (Yes, most stores carry “fresh from the field” products, but read on, and you’ll see why a Farmer’s Market is worth your while).

Since moving to Ottawa, one of our main weekend attractions has been searching for these organic + fresh from the farm products. We have ventured outside of the city as well to a few farms to pick our own strawberries, raspberries, or currant, but always find ourselves being drawn back to these farmers markets. Here are my top three picks for Farmer’s Markets to venture out to this summer:

CARP FARMER’S MARKET

The Carp Farmer’s Market, located in (you guessed it) Carp, is open on Saturday’s between 8:00am – 1:00pm, from May to October. The Market features an incredible selection of locally grown fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, flowers + plants, and arts and crafts. At the entrance of the Market you will find a few food stations with hot and ready items to try (and snack on) while you shop around. One of the biggest fan favourites is the bacon on a bun; the lineup always seems never ending. Across the street from the Market, sits the cutest + coziest coffee shop called Alice’s Village Cafe we like to stop in for a coffee (and sometimes a snack) before or after our Farmer’s Market adventures. Click here to read more about our experience at the Carp Farmer’s Market.

LANDSDOWNE PARK – OTTAWA FARMER’S MARKET

Located in the heart of The Glebe, this Farmer’s Market also boasts all of your favourite fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and plants + flowers, and is open on Sundays between 9:00am – 3:00pm. Although the layout is set up into two rows, it never takes us just two strolls up and down to look at everything. One of the main reasons why this market is at the top of my list (besides the delicious selection) is the fact that it’s inside a park, minutes from the canal, and next to one of my all time favourite food markets; WHOLE FOODS. Before moving to Ottawa, Whole Foods Markets were merely a destination for me while on trips to the USA (I believe I spent na hour in the store in San Francisco), but now that it’s right at my fingertips it’s become my actual grocery go-to for specific organic and healthy products.

BYRON PARK – WESTBORO FARMER’S MARKET

This Market, open on Saturdays between 9:30am – 3:00pm, stretches linearly through Byron Park in the beautiful Westboro neighbourhood, where vendors bring forth a great selection of organic and healthy options. In addition to the Market shopping, you can cross the street and enter into the heart of Westboro where you will find neat shops and cozy restaurants; including many healthy and vegan options as well.  PLUS if you’re feeling the need for some clothes shopping as well, you’ll find unique boutiques along the street, as well as one of the most popular Lululemon store locations in Ottawa.

I definitely don’ need much convincing for why a trip to the Farmer’s Market can turn into an adventure on its own. Not only are Farmer’s Markets a great place to pick up fresh products, but they’re also a nice place to just stroll around and take in the atmosphere and environment. Many Markets offer food stands with hot/cold snacks that are ready to eat; keep in mind that these yummy snacks are usually also organic and fresh from the farm! BONUS! Most are situated in quaint neighbourhoods you can venture out to after your shopping!

Best to set aside a few hours to a trip to the Farmer’s Market these days!

SATURDAY IN THE CITY

Growing up I told myself I would work and live in the heart of the City – there’s a type of lifestyle downtown that I craved; big city + corporate life. Funny enough, now that I’m “all grown up” I run as far away from all of that as I possible can. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE spending time in the city, corporate structures are necessary, and city life is enticing, BUT, I’m happier in the suburbs.

When planning our move to Ottawa this year we were beyond excited for the opportunity. Whoever we talked to and whatever we read about life in the Capital region was right up our alley; just what we were looking for in our lifestyle choices. Settling in a BIG CITY but living in a small town vibe was just what we wanted. It takes us 20 minutes to drive into the heart of Ottawa (Parliament Hill), and we are situated in a quaint family oriented suburb, surrounded by endless fields, greenery, and all the necessities (grocery stores, shopping malls, etc). Keeping in mind, as I mentioned, we are 15 minutes away from the heart of the City.

I can say honestly, with my hand on my heart, this is perfection. Waking up to the sunshine beaming through my windows, and looking out to see fields, greenery, and homes in the distance. They layout is truly ideal for our liking. Not only is everything close by, but when we do decide to go into “the City” it feels so much more special.

Last weekend, we took our Friday Night Date Night right into the heart of the City, into an incredibly pretty location called Byward Market. The date started with wood-oven pizza and Chardonnay, on a cozy flower covered patio, overlooking the picture perfect market promenade. After dinner, we picked a direction and started walking, discovering whatever was ahead of us; in this case, Embassy’s, museums, and some of the most beautiful architecture and views in the city.

Every single time we step out of our home we find a new and beautiful location in this City. There is still so much we have to explore and I can’t wait share more experiences of this mesmerizing region with you!

H E L L O OTTAWA HOME

H E L L O from OTTAWA!

Although our home is not entirely complete yet, I wanted to share a few photos of our place! The first photo is of our main dining room area. The space overlooks green space and a little lake. The flooring is a hardwood in a dusty grey tone; which looks amazing against the white furniture. The mirror sitting on the cabinets will most likely be hung on that wall, but we are still debating what to do in that little corner. The curtains were a quick purchase from Ikea, but I think they are perfect! The colours in the pattern are light grey, dark grey, and mustard yellow – so, all of my favourites for interior design.

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This area is my little library/reading nook; or so I like to call it. It’s also my dads favourite spot in the house (probably because he loves books just as much as I do…). I haven’t been able to organize my books yet (yes, I put them in a specific order), but this is most likely what this shelf will look like.  Again, we are debating on handing the frames, but aren’t quite sure yet.  The curtains are the same ones as in the previous photo – I fell in love with them and just couldn’t resist putting them up in a few windows. The chair is still missing my cozy white reading blanket; which is currently in the washing machine.

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Another one of my favourite areas of this house is the second bathroom upstairs; which I have entirely taken over and will be using as my own. I have organized each drawer for a different purpose of my cosmetic routine; facial care, makeup, hair products, and nail product. There are also another cabinet to the left which holds my remaining “necessities” and really just extra items. If there is some interest, I will do a review of my favourite products in these drawers in a later post sometime.

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Bedroom #1 – of course, in a warm mustard yellow accent colour. There really isn’t must more to this room at the moment.

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My wardrobe – obviously we had to find a house that would allow me to have an entire room to use as my closet. The scary part is, that I still need more space for all my things, and all of my footwear is actually in the guest room, but, this will have to do for now. This room is also not finished yet, so here’s just a sneak peek of one corner of it.

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There are still many areas of this house that I need to finish organizing, and maybe then I’ll be able to show more photos. We’ll see how much time I have on my hands though.

#PLAYINGTOURIST : CARP, ONTARIO

As we’re settling in to our new City, we are trying to explore local areas as well; I’d say we equally love the countryside and the City.

This past weekend, we decided to check out a town near us called Carp; it was recommended to us by my husbands colleague, who mentioned a great little farmers market which happens every Saturday from 8am-1pm from May until October. Of course that caught our attention; we’re all for supporting local!

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It was no surprise that this was an amazing market; there were so many local vendors with organic food options, plants and herbs, and local handmade products such as soaps!

In addition to the farmers market, across the street we stumbled upon the prettiest coffee shop called Alice’s Village Cafe – I’m sure I looked like a total tourist with the amount of photos I was snapping! Pure wooden furniture (including old church pews) offered comfy seating for the customers, raw metal and unique lighting fixtures added the perfect hygge glow, and green plants decorated tables and walls – this place is just dreamy!

 

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I would definitely recommend this town to visitors; especially the farmers market and Alice’s Village Cafe. I’m sure we will visit it again sometime soon and will check out some new spots which then I’ll be able to share with you!

Happy Weekend!

24 HOURS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

Whenever we travel to Europe we like to make a stop in the United Kingdom; for family + shopping generally. This time, our stop was very quick and had an exact purpose.

7:55 am

We touched down in London at 7:55am; by the time we moved through customs and grabbed our luggage it was 9:00 am. My sister in law picked us up, we grabbed some Costa coffees to go and we were off to Bicester Village for some shopping.

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11:30 am

We arrived at Bicester Village with a mission. My husbands goal was to buy a few suits, dress shirts, and a few pairs of shoes. I personally didn’t have high hopes of getting what I wanted; simply because what I wanted is very specific and has been sold out in EVERY store I’ve gone to (including online). So the focus was on my Husband and his shopping mission.

After a couple of hours of shopping we succeeded in finding and buying all of the things he wanted. I can’t say that I didn’t have any luck either though because I bought myself    something as well; a powder pink lace dress from Ted Baker.

4:00pm

The shopping was done and the hunger kicked in. We drove over to the Town of Oxford to one of our favorite restaurants which we always try to visit when in England; Wagamama. Traditionally, we both got Ramen.

Since we were in Oxford we decided to have a look around and sightsee a little bit; we learned and saw some pretty neat things. For starters, Oxford University has a breathtaking campus! The town seems like an entire student town; there are hardly any cars in the area and instead, the amount of bikes everywhere is astounding. Secondly, we learned that many of the locations in the area were used to film scenes from Harry Potter! This was something very interesting for me; it was so neat to find the various locations and recall which scene of the movie they were in. Clearly, I’m a Harry Potter fan; I feel like I grew up with the movie.

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6:00pm

The next part of the day was spent doing something I recommend to anyone traveling to the UK, and that’s stopping in to Primark for some shopping.

Although I look at clothes differently now, and don’t feel the need to buy dozens of items just because they’re “nice” I still like to stop in and see what I can find in these stores. So, I didn’t really buy much besides a cardigan, skirt, and a few tank tops and T-shirt’s.

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8:00pm

At this point we were starting to feel the exhaustion of the trip and days events, and we headed back to my sister in laws home outside of London.

The 12 hours we spent running around were planned and well used; but also exhausting. But this was the idea of our time here, since we knew we’d be spending time together in Poland within the next week, we took full advantage of the UK.

The next morning we caught a flight to Warsaw, Poland, and that was it for our London adventure for this trip. We usually spend at least a week in the Country; it’s mandatory to visit Harris’s and Selfridges, and to fall in love with a new designer item, but we just didn’t have the time for that fun on this trip. Either way, it was nice to be in England again!

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GREETINGS FROM SUNNY ARIZONA

 

H E L L O  A R I Z O N A!

On Thursday morning we landed in Phoenix, for a few days of fun and sun in the deserts of Scottsdale. So far, I have fallen deeply in love with the climate and environment of my surroundings here – especially the Cactus plants, which I simply can’t get enough of.

 

The first thing we did after arriving at The Phoenician Resort (after unpacking and brunching) was go exploring. We started with then Cactus Garden on the property, and were mesmerized right away! Within seconds we were surrounded by hundreds of different types of cactus plants, overlooking majestic mountains in the background.

 

In the garden, and all around the property, each of the different types of plants are labeled with a name and explanation of its type and origin. I’ve decided that cactuses are my type of plant, I have lost track of the amount of photos of them that I now have on my phone; I feel no shame. We don’t have natural cactus gardens in Canada and I want to remember this calming and regenerating experience forever!

 

I’ll admit, since Thursday, I have visited this Cactus Garden five times already; given it’s on the (long) way to our suite, I make it a point that we stroll down these paths routinely!

 

In terms of my outfit; simple and my favorite pieces. A classic canary yellow off the shoulder top, a high waisted black denim skirt, my new Michael Kors sandals, and to finish the look, Dior sunglasses! Casual, comfy, and chic, perfect for the desert!

Happy Saturday!

XX

 

PLAYING TOURIST: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

After a few days in San Francisco, we packed our car, and began the drive to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, highway one was closed so we weren’t able to drive down it like planned, but definitely can’t complain about the road we took – blue clear skies, zero traffic, and beautiful scenic lands all around.

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I must say, if you’re ever planning on doing this drive, you MUST stop off at XX for steaks. I’m not really a big fan of steak, so trust me when I say you have to stop for a steak here. Here’s the link, in case you take my advice:

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Since we did not have too many days to spend in Los Angeles, and knew there was a lot we wanted to accomplish already, on our way into the city, we decided to drive through Malibu, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. We didn’t stop for long, but long enough for me to realize that I will be coming back to visit and spending a lot more time in these locations specifically.

Then WELCOME LOS ANGELES, and that famous LA traffic. Yes, it’s true, it take three times as long to get somewhere in LA, if not longer. I can’t say it’s not worth the wait though. We explored Los Angeles in two ways; the tourist way and the locals way. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, we did more of the tourist way, but next time we do, it’ll be local vibes all the way.

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Driving through the city gives you this different vibe, this sense of freedom and need to explore; I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s really something else. I honestly don’t know how else to describe this city, except for that it’s a must see; the vibes are incredible, the scenery mesmerizing, and the atmosphere comfortable – I literally felt like this is where I want to spend the rest of my life.

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PLAYING TOURIST: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

To finally find myself on the west coast was like a dream come true for me. I’ve lost track of the number of years that I have been dreaming of a california vacation, literally. I’ve touched down on this land before, but only as a flight transfer, and it only lasted 3 hours. Since this trip, I have learnt that there is actually no such thing as enough time spent in California.

Our California trip began in San Francisco – the land of incredibly hilly streets, foggy skies, and the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. Our first stop after settling in was of course, Whole Foods – I couldn’t wait any longer to walk through all of those super healthy, vegan friendly aisles; basically, I always find new, state-specific items whenever we travel, and, more importantly, I am always snacking!

We spent about three days playing tourist in this wonderful city, but we definitely could have used a few more. A few of my favourites from this trip would have to include Alcatraz, Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, and the San Francisco Premium Outlets. Overall, there isn’t one specific location in the “downtown core” that I could say I preferred over the rest, because I feel like we ventured around so much it all felt so special and beautiful. I definitely was able to feel the San Fran vibes everywhere, and I LOVED IT!

PLAYING TOURIST: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE

The plan was to post our New Orleans (post linked here) and Nashville trip together in one post, but when I started putting photos together, I realized there were just TOO MANY I wanted to share to squeeze them all into one post. So, here is part two of our December adventure: NASHVILLE, TENNESSE!

Nashville, Tennessee

After a few days in New Orleans, we drove back upstate and into Nashville. I had two major reasons why I wanted to visit Nashville; a) I am a big fan of barbeques, pulled pork and smoked meats -I’m actually a very picky eater, but when it comes to these meats, I can’t help myself, and b) ever since I started watching the show Nashville on Netflix, I became very interested in the City and just dreamed of sitting in a bar with live country music.

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On this trip, both of these reasons became a reality! Although we only spent a couple of days in Nashville, I fell in love with the City, and am already thinking of when we can go back.  Whenever we travel to a new City, we try to split our time because the tourist must sees and the local vibes, as we want to really get a glimpse of the local lifestyles, but of course, still want to experience the highlights that the city has to offer.

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Although this was a quick trip, and we usually like fly out somewhere warmer during the winter months, we have created great memories on this trip, and are glad we did something different, or out of the ordinary. One of our main travel goals for the next years is to visit places we haven’t been to before; of course places like Poland, Britain, Austria, and Mexico can’t be avoided, we will try our best to step out of our comfort zone for other travels.

Happy March First!