Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

December 2015 & January 2016: Edinburgh, a wedding in Whitstable and an English adventure

February 20, 2016

On December 27th we departed for the UK – a bit of a whirlwind visit – primarily to see two of our closest friends Dani & Holly (Dolly) get hitched in Whitstable on January 2nd.

The journey didn’t start out too stellar. Our plane was delayed by over two hours on the tarmac. We just sat there breathing recycled air with very few updates on what was going on. Then they also re-routed the plane due to inclemate weather, adding another 2 hours to the journey. I wouldn’t have minded so much had they kept us updated. Blurg. So inevitably Roisin and I both got super ill with chest infections. Happy New Year.

Once we landed we had to race to Kings Cross to catch a train up to Edinburgh. We spent 4 days there trying to recoup so we could potentially enjoy the remainder of our trip. Hooray for antibiotics!

Roisin played a gig with her talented pals Kirsten Adamson and Roberta Pia of the Banana Sessions. We got to enjoy the Christmas markets, do a tiny bit of shopping, eat some Cuckoo’s cupcakes and we had a nice meal at the Canny Man’s. We didn’t get to enjoy our usual Black Medicine noms as they were closed for the holidays (we opted for Artisan Roast instead) and Roisin was doing so poorly on New Year’s Eve that we had to cancel our plans and miss out on the torch procession the night before. :(

We DID get to see Hannah and Roy Henderson though- two of our best pals. After 23 hours of travel from their honeymoon and New Zealand adventures, they dragged themselves from their beds to enjoy a cheeky breakfast at the Balmoral Hotel (Yes, the hotel where J.K. Rowling finished the Potter series ahhh!) before we hopped on a train back to London.

From there we went on to Canterbury where we had a lovely nighttime saunter and some cocktails. It really is what you'd expect. The architecture is stunning. We stayed at the ABode – I’d highly recommend it.

The next morning we were off to Whitstable for Dolly’s wedding – what an incredible celebration! AHHHH! I feel so lucky that we got to be there. These two ladies looked incredible and everything was so beautiful! SWOOOOOOON!

I think as our very own wedding is fast approaching this one was extra, extra sentimental for us. What a great way to enter a new year.

The next morning, after believing that we were stranded in Whitstable due to flooding and having a massive fight, we finally made our way back to Canterbury where we caught the necessary 4 trains to Brighton. Blurg. Rain + illness + being lost = deadly combo.

Brighton was incredible. I honestly need to go back. We stayed in a hotel right off the beach. The waves were pretty impressive. As a person who grew up around lakes I think salt water still weirds me out somehow.

We fell in love with Small Batch Coffee – honestly their Rwanda Kanya roast is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. We wandered the Lanes, ate breakfast at Bill’s, checked out the Royal Pavilion, explored antique stores in their Kensington/North Laine and of course we ventured out to the Pier to play a few games and wander the closed amusement rides.

We made sure to have a cheeky Nando’s and we definitely swooned over the Black Dove – such a fantastic space for a beer. I also managed to have one of the best pain au chocolat pastries… so many layers of buttery flaky noooooommm.

And then we were off to Bristol.

We opted to save a bit of cash by staying in a private room at a hostel but the place was filthy. There was garbage all over the floor of our room and the bathrooms were disgusting :( Needless to say, I kinda wished we hadn’t left Brighton. But we made the best of it, at least the location was stellar.

Their local Brew Dog became our home base. Between there and Small St. Espresso, we felt at home. Their billionaire shortbread squares were insane.

We made a day trip out to Bath to check out the Roman Baths (and to have high tea), having a necessary Greggs along the way. I’d wanted to go there since my very first trip to the UK. It’s so lovely and the baths themselves are hella interesting.

Then my pal Scott visited us from Manchester!! We enjoyed a tasty dinner at Cafe Kino, went back to Brew Dog and sauntered around Primark and the city center the following day. I love that over these past 4-5 years we’ve really made an effort to keep in touch, taking turns traveling for visits.

Bristol wasn’t necessarily our jam. I think one trip there was sufficient, but we did discover Cabot Circus in the end which was pretty neat. I somehow introduced Roisin to Wagamama while we were there. So bloody good, and the next morning we went back to the shopping center and the surrounding high end shops so I could begin looking for some sort of wedding dress scenario.

Then we were off to London for our final few days. The first order of business was seeing the film Carol at the Soho Curzon Cinema. The film wasn’t as good as Patricia Highsmith’s Price of Salt, but it was still the best lesbian film I’ve ever watched.

We went to the Breakfast Club the next morning and had a long saunter through the shops. Then we sat down to a Sunday roast at one of our staples in Islington, The Angelic.

We made our way to the airport the next morning to discover our plane was delayed by well over three hours, that we’d miss our train home, have to get a random hotel for the night and attempt to avoid paying full price for more train tickets. Weeeeee! We made it home in one piece… eventually. But winter travel is the worst travel.

Overall the trip was pretty amazing, tainted slightly by illness, but really good. The moment we got back I started packing… I think it’s go time.

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January & February 2015: All the paperwork, all the travel

June 10, 2015

Early 2015 was kinda messy.

I got offered a permanent position at Indigo which was what I’d wanted – but it was only part-time, with no real guarantee of hours. To be fair, that was what I expected if I received an offer at all.

I was also offered full-time hours at the safety company to do their marketing 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday – although I’d still be getting paid hourly and there’d be no benefits.

For a while I considered just grabbing both and rocking the two-job shuffle as long as I could … I think when you’ve struggled to find employment, you end up in this weird situation where you’re willing to start collecting jobs. Anything you can do is game. It’s not even motivated by paychecks. I think it comes from this weird place of trying to prove yourself – I can do all the jobs, for all the hours – don’t you worry. I’M THE BEST WORKER WHO HAS EVER WORKED. But of course it also comes from the fear of ending up unemployed and searching again.

With Windsor’s 11% unemployment rate I shit my pants on a regular basis.

So I decided to take the full-time gig because it made sense, even though Indigo is a hella lovely place to work. HELLA. LOVELY.

I was knackered. I was still feeling sickly from Christmas… I think I just needed work to be a thing that I did 5 days a week – rather than the thing I did more than sleep which I had to schedule the rest of my life around.

So by mid-January I was free on the weekends wahey! And in February, Roisin also quit her job at Indigo. It meant no more sweet deals on delicious books but it also meant we could see each other and hang out from time to time. We’re both still rockin’ the same gigs.

The other major thing that made January especially messy was Roisin’s application to become a permanent resident. We had wanted to mail the bloody thing out the first week of January but it dragged on and on and on. Between medical exams, getting things signed by lawyers, waiting for letters from our friends and family, researching/outlining the history of our relationship and simply making sure we’d filled out all the forms correctly – things kept eating up time. We finally felt cozy enough to mail the bloody thing at the very end of the month and now we apparently have a 24-month wait. Joy.

Also of note: we spoiled ourselves by purchasing a massive and discounted Hickory Farms basket, we celebrated our anniversary by eating lamb and drinking wine (lamb is mucho hard to come by in Canadian restaurants) and I received a super, special edition of Nelson in the mail which I swooned over.

More importantly – we spent most of February adventuring in the UK.

We’d not been back since 2013 so we had quite a bit of visiting to do. We landed in London and went straight to Bob‘s in Brixton (home of the Electric Avenue). She broke her leg a week or so prior, so we made her a sausage roll breakfast and had a low-key chill visit.

The next day we were off to visit my bestie Scott in Manchester. We spent a day or so eating our way through the city enjoyin’ fancy Mexican food at Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn, cocktails at the Alchemist (where the ice sphere in my drink spun and the liquid changed colour as it smoked), Indian at the Banyan Tree and made many, many trips to Fuel.

We got introduced to Pollie the hamster and we also purchased way too many shoes from the discount Office store, visited some of my old haunts like the Moho building where I used to live and said hello to my pal Dave from Starbucks. And of course I had a necessary cupcake from Hey Little Cupcake.

And then we were off to Edinburgh for a week of famjams, musical fanfare, tattoos, haircuts and visits with some fantastic pals.

We stopped at Hula, made daily trips to Black Medicine nom nom nom and Primark, and made sure to spend some time with Roisin’s family every day – be it for dinner or a drink (including an epic family gathering with all the food and most of her aunts, uncles, cousins). We also had our first Airbnb experience which was alright and we had some engagement photos taken by Samantha Louise Photography.

A lot of the pictures were taken near Hula, where I used to work. I used to sit on that staircase for my break or if I was waiting for Roisin after a shift. It seemed appropriate.

After a lovely time and some catch-ups with Hannah, Roy, Lucy, Kirsten, and more – we made our way back to London where we met our pal Kate at Drink, Shop, Do and experienced a night of Marioke where I ran into Kieron Gillen, who I’d not seen in years. Then we spent the next few days eating delicious breakfasts at The Breakfast Club, enjoying the spoils of the Broadway Market, eating roasts and getting more time with Bob and some other pals before making the trek back to Canada.

I did manage to wipe-out on Denmark St. while trying to show Roisin where Cormoran Strike‘s office would be. My knee still looks kinda gross because of it. For anyone who’s read those books, falling outside of this office is hella appropriate. But otherwise, we made it home okay – and we spoiled ourselves with a decent hotel that offered warm cookies upon check-in. That’s really all I want out of a hotel.

The few days that were left in the month were spent in mourning. Remembering the joys of a transit systems that functions properly, really, really good local coffee, cheap on-trend clothing, lamb roasts, pork crackling, haggis, black pudding, Los Cardos, Tunnock’s tea cakes and so, so, so much more.

Because 60+ photos isn’t enough photos. Here are the Instagram pics I took throughout our holiday.

And here’s a few photos that Hannah took of our adventures. We took them to Under the Stairs, one of my Edinburgh favourites.

And this picture that Bob took sums it all up. In conclusion,
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The next post will have less photos…

K

New York City Oct. 14-19

July 30, 2014

Although, if we’re honest, we couldn’t really afford it- Roisin and I decided to join our pals from Scotland: Lucy (hairdresser extraordinaire) and Kharris (roommate extraordinaire) for a city break in New York. We hadn’t gone on holiday since our Euro adventure so it felt right to just bite the bullet and commit to a wee adventure. I’d gone before in 2004 but I hadn’t really done the full-on tourist scenario, so I was pretty stoked to rake the city with Roisin and tick some boxes.

Before we even left Montreal we decided to get the New York Pass. Sometimes these passes can be a total rip off, I’m looking at you Berlin Pass, but I have to say that this sucker is worth it. We saved a load of cash by literally calculating how many attractions we needed to see in order to break even and then we piled on even more things to see.

We stayed in a hella shitty hostel on the border of China Town and Little Italy – an incredible location as long as one isn’t looking for luxurious accommodations. It was clean enough and we were up early every morning to make the most of the time we had. We literally walked everywhere. We had subway passes but the weather was incredible and we got to see so much more and make some cool discoveries during our 12 hour-long walks across Manhattan.

We fell in love with Tom and Jerry’s Bar in Noho on our very first night. We ended up makin’ it our local, returning several times for their seasonal pumpkin ale. I have to say it was cool to be there around Halloween.

We ventured to the top of the Empire State Building, explored 30 Rock and Rockefeller, we took a movie tour of Central Park which really helped us get our bearings and learn some cool history about the massive green space. We visited the John Lennon memorial near the Dakota, we bought a crap-ton of candy from FAO Schwarz – I really wanted to make a muppet. Had I known that this was something that could be accomplished in the toy store I probably would have saved accordingly. I was also pretty stoked to find another Zoltar fortune telling vending machine. I seem to have a knack for running into them. And of course we checked out the massive keyboard from Big.

We had a tour of NBC Studios and we also when to the Rockefeller Observation Deck late at night to see the city all lit-up. We sauntered around Times Square but to be honest beyond our necessary meal at Red Lobster (a first for Roisin), we tried to avoid the tourist trap.

One of the most unexpected and amazing things that we saw was the Museum at Eldridge Street. It’s this incredible synagogue whose stained glass and worn-in floorboards still come to mind every so often. The place just had an incredible feeling and fascinating history.

We both went to Macy’s and got makeovers at the Chanel counter by the most fantastic make-up artist. I enjoyed this whole experience way more than I probably should have. I felt like a bloody princess walking around the city after that. And we also took a late-night boat cruise around the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and lower Manhattan.

Since we visited FAO Schwarz initially on our own we returned with Lucy and Kharris and had another adventure. We found the Chelsea Hotel, ate as many doughnuts as we could from the Doughnut Plant, and of course we went on a Sex and the City tour, which starts out pretty stellar, but we did have to admit kind of nosedives midway through. I still think it was worth it. It was a hip way to spend an afternoon. (That link has a list of everywhere we went ;) It did end with necessary cocktails and ridiculous picture-taking.

We also spent a lot of time exploring the High Line and sauntering around Greenwich Village. Our pals from Diamond Bones were also in town while we were there so we were able to catch two shows, one in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn. I really, really loved it there. Sauntering around the wee shops deciding on which food trucks to visit – nom. And of course, we entertained ourselves for a good hour or so in Evolution. Such a hip store.

I feel like the next time we’re in the city we’ll be able to relax a bit more and concentrate on the areas we digged the most. I really want to check out Coney Island, we went a little too late in the season.

It really is a phenomenal place.

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